Lift ban on new nuclear plants in Wisconsin

2010-11-11T05:00:00Z 2010-11-11T06:03:10Z Lift ban on new nuclear plants in WisconsinA Wisconsin State Journal editorial madison.com
November 11, 2010 5:00 am  • 

Republicans who just won control of the state Capitol in Madison should lift a ban on the construction of new nuclear power plants.

Wisconsin needs more clean energy options, and nuclear power is already a huge source of carbon-free power here, supplying our state with 20 percent of its electricity.

Gov.-elect Scott Walker spoke in favor of lifting Wisconsin's moratorium during his successful campaign. Many other Republicans and a growing list of Democrats are on board, too.

Wisconsin isn't about to go on a nuclear plant building boom. Energy consumption has eased with the recession. And technology has helped more consumers and companies become more energy efficient.

Yet fears of climate change have given nuclear power new life and support. Technology has improved safety and efficiency. Some countries, such as France and Japan, are even recycling their spent fuel.

Wisconsin's three reactors near Two Rivers and Kewaunee are nearly four decades old. New plants could eventually be built on those sites. Given all of the predictions of rising prices for fossil fuels in the coming years, Wisconsin will need more alternatives.

Wisconsin now imports most of its energy, including huge volumes of dirty coal. The burned coal contributes to health problems, such as asthma, and spews the greenhouse gasses linked to global warming.

Wisconsin is striving to use more biomass from forest and farm waste for energy. Wisconsin has finally made it easier to erect wind turbines across the state. Solar energy is starting to become more affordable to harness.

But nuclear power is Wisconsin's only major source of carbon-free electricity, and it can be generated around the clock.

Wisconsin needs to keep its future energy options open, and that's what lifting the moratorium on new nuclear power plants will accomplish.

 

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