The Good: Legalizing new nuclear power gets strong bipartisan support in the Minnesota Senate

Legalizing the construction of new nuclear power plants in Minnesota received strong bipartisan support last week in the State Senate, with a growing number of Democratic Senators joining their Republican colleagues in voting in favor of this reliable source of emissions-free power.

Surging support in the Senate

Nuclear energy is gaining steam in the Minnesota State Senate, where the body voted 45 to 21 to lift the ban on building new nuclear power plants. The vote marks significant progress since last year when a vote supporting nuclear tallied 36 in favor and 31 opposed.

Last year, the votes were largely along partisan lines, with only two Democrats voting in favor of lifting the moratorium, Sen. Klein, and Sen. Newton, and one Republican, Sen. Jim Abeler, voting to keep it.

This year is a different story. While Sen. Abeler still provided the lone Republican vote opposing nuclear power, 11 Democrats voted in favor of legalizing new nuclear power. The image below shows those who voted in favor of decriminalizing nuclear power on top, and those who opposed it below.

Red dots indicate Republicans or Independents who caucus with Republicans, and blue dots indicate Democrats.

There is a growing realization that the idea of powering our modern society with wind, solar, and battery storage is a dangerous fantasy, and that we cannot sacrifice the reliability and affordability of our electric grid to achieve environmental outcomes.

In this regard, the growing number of Democrats who voted for legalizing new nuclear power may signify an important shift toward energy sanity among some liberal lawmakers in St. Paul.

American Experiment will continue working to educate the public, and lawmakers, about how wind and solar increase the cost of electricity while undermining its reliability. We’ll also continue to promote common-sense policies like keeping our existing coal plants open until the end of their useful lifetimes and legalizing new nuclear power plants so they can eventually replace the coal plants that keep our lights on, rain or shine.