ST. PAUL  (AP) -- The Minnesota House has approved a bill that would remove an obstacle to new nuclear power in the state.

Supporters say the bill is an initial step intended to let utilities make a case for a nuclear plant. Presently, state regulators are barred from issuing a nuclear plant certificate.

Approval and construction of a new plant would be a decade or more away.

The bill approved 81 to 50 Thursday must be reconciled with a differing Senate version before heading to Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. He has laid out criteria for his approval, including protection for ratepayers and a clear plan for waste storage.

Democrats failed to change the bill to prohibit power companies from charging energy users for costs for planning and construction until a plant is mostly operational.

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