Energy Conservation
Nuclear Power
Nuclear power

As a result of a 1994 moratorium enacted by the Minnesota Legislature, there is no existing legislative or regulatory authority to build new nuclear facilities in this state. There is also a one-year legislative review required for any expansions at the Prairie Island and Monticello nuclear plants, making it more difficult to update or expand those facilities.

During the 2010 Minnesota legislative session, HF 33/SF 355 was introduced to remove the prohibition on the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission issuing certificates of need for the construction of nuclear power plants. Minnesota is one of only a few states in the nation where it is illegal to even consider new investments in nuclear power. The bill failed to advance before committee deadlines. However, there may be opportunities to advance the legislation as an amendment to another measure.

During the 2009 legislative session, a measure to lift the ban on additional nuclear power plants reached votes on both the House and Senate floors. The measure passed in the Senate 42-24, but failed in the House 60-72, and was not included in the conference committee report. Overall, 102 lawmakers - a majority of the Legislature - voted to repeal the moratorium on nuclear energy.

Economic impact of new nuclear power opportunities in Minnesota:
  • Would help meet the growing electricity needs of Minnesota businesses and residents.
  • Would be a new "base-load" electricity option. Base-load electricity is generated by plants that run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Currently, natural gas is the primary base-load option for new plants, which exposes customers to an expensive, volatile regional market.
  • Would have anticipated operating and capital costs that are similar to or less than the costs of plants that use fossil fuels to generate power.
  • Would result in construction jobs and other impacts not felt since the 1970s, when the Prairie Island and Monticello plants came online.
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