A proposal to lift Minnesota’s ban on new nuclear power plant construction is up for a vote today in the House of Representatives. Representative Bill Hilty (DFL) plans to offer an amendment to protect ratepayers from paying higher costs associated with the design and permitting of a new facility.
In a press release Representative Hilty said,“There is absolutely no evidence that it is possible to deliver nuclear energy on time and on budget,” said Hilty. “My amendment would not prevent anyone from going ahead with a project – we’re simply asking that they provide an estimate of their costs in advance and keep their word.”
“Lifting the nuclear power moratorium is simply too risky for Minnesota ratepayers and taxpayers,” said Representative Kate Knuth. “Energy costs are a big concern for Minnesota families and we need to be smart about our energy future. Lifting the nuclear moratorium distracts Minnesota from building a homegrown, cost-effective energy future.”
According to the DFL, the Hilty amendment would prohibit the recovery of certain costs associated with the construction of a nuclear generating plant from ratepayers until the plant is at operating at least 85 percent capacity.
Some of the costs that could not be passed on under the Hilty amendment include:
Any construction costs exceeding by more than 10% the projected cost;
Planning, design, safety, environmental or engineering studies; and
Costs of obtaining regulatory approval, including permits and licenses.
“Too often, the developers of nuclear power plants seem to assume they have carte blanche when it comes to costs; this amendment would hold them responsible for the majority of cost overruns,” said Hilty.