Are you comfortable increasing Minnesota’s reliance on nuclear power?

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission gave approval last week for an Xcel Energy plan to produce more power at its Prairie Island nuclear plant. Xcel also will store more nuclear waste at the site. Are you comfortable increasing Minnesota’s reliance on nuclear power?

  • Reuben Koutal

    Definitely. It was all going well, until the Three Mile Island. It was a very well planned engineered and operarted system, as safe as Freeways, until some mishap. It’s a pity, how such a invaluable was blown away, just because of incomplete information among the average man. Surely, there were plenty of resources and manpower to explain to general public, and in simple words that anyone could understand. But, it’s not too late. It’s a gigantic job, and it requires tremendous time and effort, but it’s worth it, and you should give it a thought, and leave it somewhere in the drawer, when you get more burning stuff off of your schedule. Just one thing: Look ahead, and only that.

  • Steven

    Yes. There’s too much irrational fear of nuclear power. More radiation is released into the environment by a coal-fired plant than by a nuclear one, and the small quantity of waste the reactors produce harms the environment less than the enormous CO2 emissions from coal plants. And then there are the mines. Uranium mining is way less dangerous than coal mining.

  • Al Heebsh

    I am comfortable with increasing reliance on nuclear power and would welcome it given 2 things:

    1. There is a long term waste storage solution. The solution must not cause harm to people and the environment, including those who usually suffer the effects of improper hazardous waste disposal, the poor and minorities.

    2. The process of obtaining the radiocative fuel does not adversely impact native people. Historically, the process of mining fuel in the US has greatly harmed the environment and Native Americans living the Southwest US. This is a largely untold story, and a factor that must be addressed before any increase in US dependence on nuclear power.

  • Kate Sherry

    Absolutely. Yes, what happened at Three Mile Island was horrible, but it shouldn’t have led to our country turning its back on nuclear energy. We need to increase our use of nuclear energy and decrease our dependence on coal and oil.

  • kt

    Earlier post failed, i’ll sum up what i said.

    yes it’s great to get off oil. However, our Uranium stockpile worldwide is depleting faster than it’s being renewed. So do we really want to put all of our proverbial eggs in one basket?

    I agree with the current action, but let’s get moving on other measures as well.

  • I definitely think the people of the U.S. will choose to use more nuclear power, whether we’re comfortable with it or not, as we are running out of cheaply extracted oil and therefore the means to even extract that coal (through heavy machinery powered by said oil). In the face of either losing our modern way of living, or using nuclear energy, we will choose the latter. It may be dancing with the devil, but luxury and comfort will win out. I’m not sure how I feel about it, personally.

  • Geoffrey Pursell

    Absolutely. I think that most fear of nuclear power is irrational, and our current problems with it are solvable.

    New types of fission reactors like sodium-cooled fast reactors have huge potential to safely replace our coal-fired base load. Supplement that with as much solar and wind power as we can get, and you have a real solution to our climate and energy problems.

    It will cost, but it’s worth it.

  • Rob

    I think that continuing with nuclear power is absolutely the wrong way for us to go. There is no permanent and safe place to store the waste, and the radiation — which cannot be contained anywhere near as easily as normal toxins — is known to cause cancer and birth defects. An accident, terrorist attack or spill can render an area uninhabitable for tens of thousands of years, and the federal government has to provide special insurance specifically for nuclear power plants, because a disaster at one of them would cause more profound damage than any company could pay for. Why do we want to create more of a problem (waste) that we have not found a way to solve? And who is going to pay the cost of de-commissioning the Prairie Island and Monticello plants once they have reached the end of their life? Xcel? My guess is that we the taxpayers will be stuck with that massive bill. We have so many clean energy alternatives now that we should be putting our resources into rather than tying our futures (and those of our children and grandchildren) to such a risky, toxic, and ultimately costly form of energy.

  • Ray

    Existing Nuclear power is needed but new Nuclear power plants take 12 to 15 years to bring on line. Wouldnt the time money and resources be better spent on other green power solutions? Seems to me current legislation is looking to 2020 and 2025 to achieve significant green power goals. New nuclear power construction doesnt fit in that window but Wind, solar thermal, geo thermal does.

  • Dean

    No, I agree with all of Rob’s points in the first comment. In addition, nuclear is not cost competitive when the cost of decommissioning and 10,000 years of storage are added in. That is why no plants will ever be built without unwise huge government subsidies. And it takes 10 years to build these plants and valuable time and financial assests will be tied up building nuclear plants that could go into renewables, effeciency and education to get to the needed carbon reduction much sooner.

    Lets think carefully.

    Dean

  • justacoolcat

    Put me in the absolutely camp. Not only has the technology improved vastly in the amount of power that can be harnessed, but it’s gotten safer.

    Due to the 15 year window I think we should figure out the capacity we’d need and then build 4 times the nuclear power plants.

    There is no other technology that can offer the same power benefits, aside from maybe the sun; which is also technically nuclear power.

    I certainly think we should also spend money on greener alternatives at the same time, mainly solar, but nuclear is the way of the future.

    ~ David

  • Dan

    There is more energy available through wind and solar in this world as well, in Minnesota, to fulfill all our needs. The price is always ridiculed, but we’re talking about an eternal source of energy. We could be energy independent and even export to other states. Look at examples with similar populations but less geographical resources, ie. Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, and Germany. Think about future generations and think about eternity.

  • Kara

    No. I want Minnesota to take the lead to be the first state to reach sustainable energy production, through wind, solar, bio-gas, bio fuel and solar hot water to power the state. I want us to step up and step out and lead the nation.

  • Ben

    Yes, I’m comfortable with it, new nuclear reactor designs are safer, cleaner, consume less fuel and produce less waste than our present infrastructure of aging reactors.

  • John P.

    More comfortable than I am with coal or other fossil fuels, but less comfortable than I would be with wind or solar.

  • Chad H

    I can only answer this question with another… Why are we asking the uneducated (on this topic) to make a base line for “if we should/should not welcome/remove nuclear energy plants”? I would like to think i am an educated person, but i have no knowledge on this topic, other than blurbs from others with no knowledge, how can i voice an opinion with-out facts? And to be fair and honest, how can 99.99% of our listeners claim to “know the answer”? We higher people to be educated in these areas, then we poll the uneducated on if we “feel” the educated are making the right choice. We continue to do this more and more in all aspects of our local, regional and national governments. I agree we need “over sight”, but at some point the society we live in needs to start trusting the experts that we choose to make EDUCATED answers to very hard questions. Some day i hope we can get to the point that we don’t follow the “feelings” of the uneducated, but rather “trust” the answers from the educated. Who and how we select those to be educated is much more of a “forum” topic than trying to “feel” our way through tough topics with no real knowledge to back up our uneducated opinions.

  • K Green

    With no long term waste storage solution, the long-term consequences trump short-term economic considerations.

  • Craig

    Using the word “reliance” misleads people into thinking it would be a state owned plant. Xcel is a Denver-based, for-profit corporation. Are you testing the waters on their behalf?

    Would I like the state to own a plant? Yes.

    Would I like Xcel shareholders to own another plant in MN? Only, if the state gets a sweetheart deal on the power.

  • Ron Sorensen

    I am completely comfortable about the decision to allow increased nuclear power production and cash storage at Prairie Island.

    The Monticello and Prairie Island plants have been operating for nearly 40 years each. Think of the tons of sulfur dioxide that have not gone into the atmosphere. Think of the barrels of diesel fuel that have not been consumed to ship goal or other fuel to generate the same amount of electricity.

    Think of how much lower our electric bills are as a result.

  • Eric Sandeen

    I’ll take nuclear over coal, but I’d rather invest heavily in efficiency and renewable power first.

  • John Banchy

    I am very comfortable with the idea of allowing increased nuclear power production at Prairie Island. I have done considerable reading on nuclear power (and other sources) over the last three years. I feel that nuclear power needs to be a major part of our energy mix.

  • jfarmer9

    Fact no one has died due to radiation from a commercial production of nuclear power in the Untied States.

    Also in this time of double digit unemployment these are some interesting facts that Duke Energy CEO recently was quoted as saying the following:

    “In an operation of a nuclear plant, there [are] .64 jobs per megawatt. The wind business–and we have a very large wind business–is .3 jobs per megawatt. In the solar business–and we’re installing solar panels–it’s about .1. But the difference in the jobs is quite different, because if you’re wiping off a solar panel, it’s sort of a minimum wage type of job, [with] much higher compensation for nuclear engineers and nuclear operators. If our goal is to rebuild the middle class, nuclear plays a key role there, particularly if coal is out of the equation.”

    We I say this to all the anti-nuclear naysayers and fear mongers.

    Viva the nuclear Renaissance,

    Jfarmer9

  • Brian F

    Chad H said what I’ve been thinking for years.

    In 2008 I spent a semester in a graduate level course on energy & environmental policy, and I feel only slightly educated on the topic – I understand much more than I did before, but not nearly enough to be making decisions on the matter.

    Based on what I *do* know, the only viable energy sources that can meet projected increases in consumption are wind, solar, & nuclear. I would vote for increased research and implementation of all three. (Hydro power also has the capacity to produce a significant portion of our electricity, but the vast majority of that potential is already doing so.)

    Sidebar re: Three Mile Island: One way to look at that incident is not as a failure, but as a success. The safety technology and protocols prevented that event from being a disaster, exactly as they were intended.

  • Margaret Landry

    NO, NO, NO. Until there’s a completed, safe repository for spent fuel we would be fools to continue to stockpile this unsafe material.

  • Amanda in MN

    No. I’m not ready to rule it out, but I feel that the true cost/benefit hasn’t been done. Or if it has, it isn’t being shared publicly. Creating the energy is only part of the larger issue. Aside from the cost of creation, what are the costs of the disposal of waste products produced? How many people/animals/trees/etc. does it displace? What does it do to the surrounding land and water quality? Monetary costs and other costs? This is true of any form of energy. The true costs and benefits come from an analysis that accounts for the “full circle” of creating, using, disposing, back to creating (and probably a number of other potential side effects I’ve not mentioned). I’d like to see analyses that aren’t so blatantly lacking in intellectual rigor.

  • Phil

    Interesting article today in the the news about the fact current nuclear plants can now be safely run for 80 or even 100 years because virtually every component can be replaced. Quite a bargain for safe, clean, and economical generation of base load electricity that runs greater than 90 percent of the time. Nuclear power and electric everything is the key to our clean,secure, and economically prosperous future.

  • Anne Peiffer

    I have very mixed feeling about nuclear power for many reasons.

    1.) A friend’s niece just died from leukemia at age 25. She was from Chernobyl. While nuclear power is a big power source, if there is a problem, it’s not a small one.

    2.) Uranium mining may be safer than coal mining, but coal is fairly harmless. Uranium is not.

    3.) The environment recycles carbon dioxide. Uranium has to decay and that takes a long time in which it is toxic.

    4.) I assume that our technology has improved a great deal since Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. How many times safer is it to produce nuclear energy and store the waste now?

    5.) The sun shines every day. There is a limit to uranium just as there is to coal. Can we use nuclear power to transition to more benign energy sources and reduce our energy demands to a sustainable level?

    6.) There is no doubt nuclear plants produce a lot of energy. If we can transition to lower energy demands, they may give us the time we need to make the transition without a panic.

    I don’t think the decision to expand nuclear power production is an easy one, nor do I think anyone should try to make it easy. If we commit to this, we commit to the consequences as well. Let’s keep all eyes open!

  • Damon Moss

    I don’t have anything against nuclear power, per se, as I believe there is an irrational fear over the cons involved. That said, I would be apt to support it if I knew that we, as a society, had done all we could, and exhausted our investment resources into wind, water & solar power, which have very minimal, if any, detraction from the environment. We haven’t. By a long shot.

    Why are we chasing this resource when we already have superior technology available to us?

  • Phil

    Coal is relatively harmless???!!! 30000 people a year die because of coal combustion byproducts released into the environment. All of our waterways are polluted with mercury because of coal combustion. Coal combustion releases far more uranium directly into the environment than any nuclear plant.

  • Donovan Lambright

    I’m very comfortable with nuclear power IF it is done right. Cutting-edge technology like that rolled out in France has enabled plants that are very safe and produce a fraction of the radioactive waste. Problem is the expense. Private power companies don’t like to spend money and will cheap out if we let them. On the other hand, if we mandate they do it right those companies will opt out. Either way, the problem does not get solved.

  • Gerald L. Myking

    We have a number of Nuke plants in this country that have been operating safely for a very long time. A high percentage of the energy in Europe has been supplied by Nuclear Power for a very long time. The future however is not in Giant Nuclear Power plants. It’s small self-contained units that are buried underground. Eliminating most of the need for transmission lines and switching stations. We are simply waiting for them to be built which makes me wonder, why hasn’t the government stepped in to increase production. There is a small town in Alaska that will have one on line next year, the size of a garden shed it will supply the entire town for thirty years.

  • Yes. Absolutely.

  • I’m quite pelsaed with the information in this one. TY!

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