When it comes to solving Minnesota's long-term energy needs, about the only points of agreement among many differing voices are these: There will be no magic bullet anytime soon, yet demand for energy is very likely to increase, perhaps very soon.
With those two common-ground points in mind, we praise the call last week from a diverse group of voices to let Minnesotans at least consider nuclear power as part of its equation in solving the state's long-term energy needs.
U.S. Reps. Tim Walz, a rural Democrat, and Erik Paulsen, a suburban Republican, joined labor leaders and the state Chamber of Commerce in urging Minnesota legislators to repeal Minnesota's 1994 ban on the Public Utilities Commission authorizing construction of new nuclear facilities.
As we have noted before, repealing this ban is critical to Minnesota taking a comprehensive approach to solving its energy needs for at least the next 25 years.
Now, are we saying nuclear should be the only option on the energy table? No! But it does mean it should be allowed a place at that table.
Certainly, renewable, environmentally friendly energy sources are preferred. But they are not developed to the point that reliance on them, especially for baseload power, seems realistic in the time frame Minnesota faces for increased demand for energy.
By all means, keep working to develop them.
But considering the looming energy challenges (including from 10 to 15 years to build a power plant of any kind) Minnesota has little choice but to look at nuclear power as part of its short- and medium-range baseload solution.
- St. Cloud Times
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