ST. PAUL  (AP) -- The Minnesota Senate has approved legislation giving energy regulators authority to issue permits for new nuclear power plants.

Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch says the bill wouldn't lead to immediate construction of a plant. It would get rid of a 17-year-old moratorium on consideration of nuclear energy facilities.

The bill passed Wednesday on a 50-14 vote.

Democratic Sen. Ellen Anderson failed in her attempt to add language preventing power companies from billing customers for planning and construction before a plant comes on line.

Labor unions and business leaders have promoted a repeal of the moratorium.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton has raised concerns over nuclear-waste storage but hasn't taken a clear position on how he would treat a bill that reaches him.

Minnesota currently has two nuclear plants.

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