UPDATE 1-Minnesota House votes to lift nuclear power ban

Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:30pm EST

 * A dozen states have some bans on new nuclear development
 * Minnesota bill to go back to the State Senate
 (Adds link to FACTBOX)
 NEW YORK, Feb 18 (Reuters) - The Minnesota House of
Representatives on Thursday overwhelmingly voted to lift a ban
on the construction of new nuclear power plants in the state.
 Minnesota enacted the moratorium on new nuclear plants in
1994.
 Minnesota is one of about a dozen U.S. states that have
some form of ban on new nuclear plant development.
 (FACTBOX [ID:nN18132609])
 Xcel Energy Inc (XEL.N) operates two nuclear power plants
in the state, at Monticello and Prairie Island. The company to
date has not proposed building any new reactors in Minnesota.
 The bill was sponsored by Rep. Joyce Peppin (R-Rogers) and
Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch (R-Buffalo). It passed 81-50 as
amended by the House.
 The bill now goes back to the Senate, which passed its
version 50-14 on Feb. 2.
 Specifically, the bill removes the ban on allowing the
Public Utilities Commission to issue a certificate of need for
the construction or expansion of nuclear power facilities.
 "We have taken our two workhorses ... off the table,"
Peppin said of the moratoriums on nuclear- and coal-generated
electricity.
 Peppin said nuclear power needs to be one of the options
for future energy needs but the ban has prevented, or
discouraged, stakeholders from having those discussions.
 (Reporting by Scott DiSavino; editing by John Picinich and Jim
Marshall)