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Letter: Magnus disappointed with nuclear energy vote

On a party-line vote, a Minnesota House energy committee has refused to allow nuclear energy to be discussed as part of a solution to Minnesota's future energy needs.

All nine Republicans voted to allow the nuclear discussion to take place, and all 12 Democrats voted against it, even though the bill was carried by a Democrat.

Union after union came forward in support of this bill, to no avail. Current law prohibits lawmakers from even discussing the expansion of nuclear power in the state, much less building a new plant. This bill would have allowed lawmakers to simply discuss the option of nuclear energy in a public setting, and it failed on a party-line vote.

The vote was disappointing for a number of reasons. First, nuclear plants typically employ more than 400 people. By allowing the nuclear discussion in Minnesota, and perhaps building another power plant, hundreds could acquire a good paying job either through the construction of a facility or daily operation.

Second, Minnesota's two nuclear plants are getting older. Acting now would make them more productive in the future, and allow Minnesota to continue using the nuclear as a base load energy sources in Minnesota -- along with coal and natural gas.

Nuclear represents a large portion of our state's base load energy. Wind, solar, and geothermal are very important renewable energy sources, but at this time they cannot replace the base load sources of coal, nuclear, and natural gas.

We need to take steps soon to protect the nuclear sources we have. Nuclear is a reliable source of base load energy, and we need to ensure its viability.