SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) –Illinois is one step closer to lifting the nuclear power plant moratorium.
Earlier this year, the Illinois General Assembly passed a bipartisan bill ending the state’s decades-long ban on building new nuclear power plants. Governor J.B. Pritzker ended up vetoing the bill in August, citing concerns that the bill’s language was too vague to the point of too many reactors would be built in the state.
Now, after more negotiations, the Illinois senate has come up with a compromise bill with more precise language on what type of nuclear reactors can be built. The new bill passed the Senate Wednesday afternoon 44-7 with bipartisan support and now heads to the House of Representatives.
“Nuclear provides clean, reliable, and secure energy that we can count on as we strive to reach our clean energy goals in Illinois,” State Senator Sue Rezin (R-Morris), the bill’s sponsor, said. “With the passage of this legislation, we provide our state with the opportunity to truly embrace the next generation of nuclear technology and all of the benefits that it offers.”
Senators in support say it does not only keep Illinois on the track to create more green energy, but also shows the state’s commitment to new technology.
“Ending the decade-long moratorium on the construction of small modular nuclear reactors improves our state’s energy portfolio – creating a sustainable energy future for decades to come.” Sen. Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) said in a release. “The repeal sends the signal that Illinois is open to innovation and investment.”
Some environmental groups worry that the technology is too far away to have legislators debate lifting the ban.
“We have really urgent priorities to get more clean energy on the grid,” Jack Darin, the director of the Sierra Club Illinois chapter, said. “We’ve got a lot of wind and solar and storage projects waiting in line to get onto our power grid. And that’s really what the General Assembly should be focused on.”
The moratorium has been in place since 1987. The bill would take effect in 2026.