Illinois’ three-decade-old ban on the construction of new nuclear power plants is one step closer to being lifted. On March 30, following a bipartisan roll call, the Illinois Senate passed State Senator Sue Rezin’s legislation, Senate Bill 76, which would finally end the state’s moratorium, which she says would create jobs, lower utility costs, and provide more reliable, clean energy.
“Illinois is just one of twelve states in the entire nation to still have a moratorium on the construction of new nuclear power facilities. In the past few years, other states, including our neighbor Indiana, have recognized just how arbitrary and archaic these types of bans are and moved to remove them,” said Sen. Rezin. “My legislation is a bipartisan, pro-jobs bill that will help ensure that Illinois is able to effectively compete with other states who are beginning to understand the pivotal role nuclear energy can play in relieving growing energy grid reliability and resiliency pressures.”
Senate Bill 76 would delete the language that provides that no construction shall commence on any new nuclear power plant to be located within the state. Under Rezin’s legislation, public utility and energy companies wouldn’t be forced to invest in nuclear energy but would merely be given the option to invest in new nuclear power construction projects. These projects could be either traditional nuclear reactors or new small modular reactors (SMRs.) SMRs are the latest and most advanced nuclear energy technology being developed which have the added benefit of being able to be placed in existing infrastructure such as factories or retired coal-fired power plants that are already connected to the electric grid.
“Building new 24-hour energy producing nuclear power stations, whether traditional or SMRs, will help improve our state’s energy grid and potentially infuse millions of dollars into local economics by providing good paying jobs,” continued Sen. Rezin. “It is time for Illinois to come to the realization that as we make our move forward with carbon-free energy goals, we need to at the very least give our energy companies the option to decide for themselves if they want to invest in the most efficient and reliable means of producing carbon-free energy.”
Senate Bill 76 passed in the Senate with a 39-13 bipartisan vote, and now moves over to the House for further consideration.
“I would like to thank all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their support of this critical legislation, including State Senator Patrick Joyce who has truly been instrumental throughout the process of passing this bill in the Senate,” said Sen. Rezin.