WASHINGTON, D.C.—At a press conference held today in St. Paul, Minnesota Democratic Congressman Timothy Walz and Republican Congressman Erik Paulsen called for the legislature to overturn the current moratorium on new nuclear power plants. They were joined by Bill Blazer from the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and Harry Melander from the Building and Construction Trade, and members of the Minnesota State Legislature. Alex Flint, Nuclear Energy Institute’s senior vice president of governmental affairs, made the following comments on the bi-partisan call for the repeal of Minnesota’s ban on new nuclear facilities.
“The nuclear energy industry applauds Congressmen Walz and Paulsen and the representatives of Minnesota’s State Senate, business and labor community for their recognition of the significant role that nuclear energy plays today, and must play going forward, as Minnesota’s largest source of carbon-free electricity production.
“Minnesota faces a difficult challenge in the coming decades to meet an expected 20 percent increase in demand for electricity while significantly reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Recent independent analyses have concluded that a portfolio of energy options, including nuclear energy, must be utilized to reach these vital goals. Congressmen Walz and Paulsen rightly recognize that lifting the ban on new nuclear plants will broaden Minnesota’s future clean energy options.
“Nuclear energy is a sensible clean-air option that Minnesota should be able to consider. Coupled with the expansion of other carbon-free sources of electricity such as hydro, wind and solar, nuclear energy will help Minnesota protect its environment, promote energy security and expand its economy. Each new nuclear facility will produce up to 2,400 jobs during construction, 500 to 700 high-paying permanent positions and generate approximately $430 million a year of economic activity in the local community. The average nuclear plant also generates around $20 million a year in state and local taxes and $75 million a year in federal taxes. Nuclear energy is one of the few bright spots in today’s economy and has the potential to do bring affordable electricity and significant benefits to Minnesota.”