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Letter to the editor: Leave I-80 in tact

Letter to the editor: Leave I-80 in tact

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In 1978, Montana voters passed I-80 by 65%, empowering state voters to approve or reject any proposed nuclear power facility certified under the Montana Major Facilities Siting Act. Importantly, I-80 does NOT ban nuclear energy; rather, it creates critical guardrails for the process by which a nuclear power plant is proposed, by setting stringent safety and liability requirements and, most importantly, giving the voters of Montana the right to decide. Currently, House Bill 273, moving to the Montana Senate, would overturn I-80.

There are numerous pros and cons to nuclear power; any proposal should be rigorously debated, factually and scientifically, in public, not in backrooms of entities who stand to benefit financially from nuclear installations. Although the probabilities of a nuclear accident are statistically low, let us debate the implications if we lose the roll of the dice, just as the Japanese lost at the Fukushima accident. Although proposed next-gen nuclear reactors have important safety upgrades, we must have a rigorous education on these critical safety issues. To date, no full-scale next-gen reactors have been built or tested. With little data, should we remove the guardrails?

HB 273 is a bad bill that bypasses public process. Call your legislators.

Steve Nelson

Missoula

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