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Nuclear Power Among Possible Legislative Interim Study Topics

One of the items on the Legislature’s Executive Board agenda this afternoon is picking the topics for interim studies. Among the 17 possible topics (well, 15 specific topics, plus 2 piles of brain burp from Rep. Carl Perry) is the potential for developing nuclear power in South Dakota. Senate Concurrent Resolution 601, encouraging the E-Board to approve an interim study on nuclear power, got all sorts of yeas during Session (the only five nays came from Republican Representatives Gross Mills, Odenbach, Overweg, and Reimer).

A nuclear power study is also getting a push from Missouri River Energy Services, which signals in a February 6 letter to the Executive Board that it is looking at nuclear power to meet climate-change-mitigation mandates:

As you may know, Minnesota recently passed a 100 percent carbon-free by 2040 mandate on all utilities serving customers in Minnesota. This mandate includes MRES. Additionally, it is expected that the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will come out with rules this year that will further mandate carbon dioxide reductions or otherwise regulate fossil-fuel plants. This is occurring at time when utilities are concerned about having sufficient dispatchable resources to meet the needs of the regional transmission grid and the needs of their customers. As utilities look to both satisfy mandates for carbon-free power and fulfill the need for dispatchable resources, nuclear power could assist utilities in keeping the lights on. Therefore, we support the funding of an interim study and subsequent legislative report on the possibility of nuclear power development in South Dakota [Thomas J. Heller, CEO, Missouri River Energy Services, letter to South Dakota Legislature Executive Board, 2023.02.06].

South Dakota has had just one nuclear power plant, Pathfinder,  test facility that operated poorly near Brandon from 1964 through 1967.


  1. John 2023-03-27 09:06

    Meanwhile the Xcel Energy nuke plant at Monticello spewed 400,000 gallons of radioactive tritium into the waters of Minnesota and the nation.
    This was the second leak. The leaks occurred in November and the public just now receiving notice.
    There ought to be a law that all nuclear plant executives and board members live within a 3 mile radius, down stream, down wind, of their nuclear plant.

    South Dakota has generous resources of energy in wind, solar, and geothermal. South Dakota has no need for nuclear energy.

  2. larry kurtz 2023-03-27 09:47

    Concrete is one of the most carbon intensive product out there, so is mining uranium or whatever fissile material will be ripped from Indigenous lands for such a feat of malarkey. A reactor would have to go East River because the Cretaceous shale West River is so unstable. Engineers are struggling to build a bridge between Fort Pierre and the cesspool on the east side of the Missouri River, ffs.

  3. Donald Pay 2023-03-27 10:18

    Can someone explain why South Dakota taxpayers have to fund a “study” in order for a predominately Minnesota power consortium to meet Minnesota state government decarbonization goals? Missouri River Energy Services? That’s a really misnamed entity since most of their consumers are in Minnesota. Maybe those Minnesota folks would like to pick up the sewage ash that they dumped in South Dakota back in the mid-1980s.

    What other projects is this “Missouri Reiver Energy Services” company looking to scam South Dakota into? Well, they are behind the massively unpopular Gregory County Pumped Storage Project, which they want to shove down South Dakota’s throat. I recall fighting that project when the Water Congress was pushing it back when I was lobbying.

    Stupidity is a bipartisan addiction, and this recent fixation with nuclear power is nothing but the latest drug that the stupid bipartisan elites, like Bill Gates, are pushing. If they’ve got a billion dollars, they are all in for putting nuclear power plants where YOU live and they don’t. And they want to use your tax dollars to “study” the matter.

    My guess is this in not something that South Dakotans want to study because they don’t really want a another power plant to shake so hard that it could have melted down. That’s what happened with the old Pathfinder Plant between Sioux Falls and Brandon in 1967. If the Minnesota-controlled Missouri River Energy Services entity want to study it, let them fork out the money for their own study.

  4. LCJ 2023-03-27 10:59

    Nuclear energy is by far the safest and cleanest energy in the world by far. Period.

  5. larry kurtz 2023-03-27 11:09

    All the water needed to cool a nuclear-powered generating station in eastern South Dakota for its lifetime is welling up in the James and Big Sioux River basins right now but watching Lake Kampeska flooding out Lee Schoenbeck makes me happy.

  6. Donald Pay 2023-03-27 11:11

    They’re so safe, LCJ, that it requires massive federal intervention into the insurance of these plants. Can we agree that if a company can’t insure its operations in the free market, that it probably ain’t all that safe?

  7. All Mammal 2023-03-27 11:27

    Why can’t we wind up rubber bands with hydro power down by the creek and store up that E and unwind it a little at a time when we wish to run the washing machine or clean a load of dishes? What ever happened to that sand elevator E storage technology we were hearing about? Gee, maybe Thune’s physique-conscious bill could kill two birds with one stone by creating a gym for people to workout that stores their E to power things, instead of running nowhere and shaking big ropes for nothing. Pump iron and store that juice up, all while looking hot! We could even come up with a way to make choice quality, more E efficient concrete with the zebra mussel shells from Pactola….too bad innovation gets people laughed at in SD. Ha! Keeping it interesting makes people scared, so they laugh out of fear.
    Instead of studying ways to keep Native children out of the SD foster/sex slavery system because Venhuizen and his chub club don’t feel responsible for brown/poor children, lets cater to nuclear trash pushers. Gnocchi.

  8. LCJ 2023-03-27 11:29

    DP, safest period.

  9. larry kurtz 2023-03-27 11:43

    Huron is the logical location for such a generating station, actually.

  10. larry kurtz 2023-03-27 11:50

    Replacing Big Stone with next generation nuclear makes some sense, too. NorthWestern Energy owns 23.4% of the Big Stone Power Plant in northeastern South Dakota — a monster that consumes 3,500 tons of filthy sub-bituminous coal every hour then spews heavy metal oxides over Minnesota.

  11. Donald Pay 2023-03-27 14:44

    Next generation nuclear power? That’s a great marketing ploy, but what it actually is is untested, unregulated and socialist power. It make no sense.

  12. sx123 2023-03-27 16:38

    As long as there is water in the Missouri River up here, modern nuclear plant would be a great option, or even if they used liquid sodium cooling instead, I wouldn’t count nuclear out. Lots of electricity from a small footprint.

    If missiles aren’t flying towards them, these newer small reactors are supposed to be pretty safe. If missiles are flying at them, the world has probably already gone nuclear and we have bigger problems than nuclear power plant safety.

  13. grudznick 2023-03-27 17:00

    Nuclear energy is the safest there is and the warmest and most efficient, too. It just plain makes people happy.

  14. grudznick 2023-03-27 17:34

    Look, if we had more pipelines and more nuclear energy plants, we wouldn’t need as many trains running around and potentially derailing in Mr. Blundt’s back yard. Pipelines are good. Nuclear is good. Boreholes are #4Science.

  15. larry kurtz 2023-03-27 18:01

    Another topic will be the consolidation of some county services because how are 66 counties either conservative or sustainable?

  16. Mark Anderson 2023-03-27 21:04

    You know of course that Brandon Valley High finished third in B basketball in 1965. It’s those gamma rays.

  17. Donald Pay 2023-03-28 08:33

    Nuclear power is socialist power.

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