Despite its status as the number one state in nuclear generating capacity (with 11 power reactors)—and despite having provided a sizeable financial boost to its reactor fleet last September—Illinois currently prohibits new nuclear power plant construction.
The ban, however, is now being targeted by state Rep. Mark Walker (D., Arlington Heights), who is sponsoring a measure in the Illinois General Assembly to have it repealed.
The bill: On January 31, Walker introduced H.B. 5589, which would amend the Illinois Public Utilities Act by deleting language stating that “no construction shall commence on any new nuclear power plant to be located within this state, and no certificate of public convenience and necessity or other authorization shall be issued therefore by the Illinois Commerce Commission, until the director of the [Illinois] Environmental Protection Agency finds that the United States government, through its authorized agency, has identified and approved a demonstrable technology or means for the disposal of high-level nuclear waste, or until such construction has been specifically approved by a statute enacted by the General Assembly.”
On February 9, H.B. 5589 was assigned to the House Energy and Environment Committee.
The dirty dozen: Just last week, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed into law legislation repealing that state’s nuclear construction ban, leaving only 12 states with similar restrictions on the books. That list, in addition to Illinois, includes California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont.