A former member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is at the Capitol Monday telling lawmakers now is not the time to repeal the state's ban on new nuclear power plants.
Peter Bradford said the much-anticipated nuclear renaissance is still some years away. He said plants under construction are hobbled by delays and cost overruns; the federal government has failed to find a spot for permanent disposal of waste; and the so-called next-generation of plant designs are not yet ready.
"It's gone completely off the tracks," Bradford said. "What you're losing is a chance to buy a ticket on a slow-moving train wreck."
Minnesota has had a ban on new nuclear plants for 15 years. Last year, a measure to repeal it failed but some lawmakers will push for repeal again this year.
Bradford said the nuclear industry is suffering from cost overruns, construction delays, and a lack of interest among banks and other sources of capital.
"Rather than simply repeal the prohibition as if everything were going smoothly out there, you'd think you'd want someone to come in and say, 'we need an impartial review of nuclear costs that shows us that nuclear has a place, a possible place in the power supply before we repeal the law,'" he said.
A group of environmental and clean energy groups paid for Bradford's visit to Minnesota.