Illinois lifts ban on some new nuclear construction

December 11, 2023, 12:13PMNuclear News

Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker returned to the good graces of the nuclear community last Friday, signing H.B. 2473, a bill that partially lifts the state’s decades-long moratorium on new nuclear power builds by permitting the construction of small modular reactors.

Pritzker had vetoed similar legislation, S.B. 76, in August, saying in a veto message that the bill included an overly broad definition of “advanced reactors,” which would “open the door to the proliferation of large-scale nuclear reactors that are so costly to build that they will cause exorbitant ratepayer-funded bailouts.” Pritzker had also asserted that S.B. 76 lacked “regulatory protections or updates to address the health and safety of Illinois residents who would live and work around these new reactors.”

Illinois lawmakers pass new bill to lift state’s nuclear ban

November 9, 2023, 3:01PMNuclear News
Sen. Sue Rezin (at lectern), speaking on H.B. 2473 on Tuesday. (Photo: Sue Rezin)

While an initial bill aimed at lifting the decades-old ban on new nuclear construction in Illinois was vetoed in August by Gov. J. B. Pritzker, the state’s nuclear-friendly legislature is giving the effort another shot, opting to pursue new legislation rather than a veto override.

Fate of North Carolina nuclear measure uncertain

September 6, 2023, 9:31AMNuclear News


While a pronuclear energy bill currently under consideration in the North Carolina General Assembly appears to stand a good chance of advancing to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk, its chances of receiving his signature are less clear.

The legislation, S.B. 678, would replace the term “renewable energy” in state statutes with “clean energy” and specify that the new term includes both nuclear fission and fusion. In addition, the bill would eliminate language impeding the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) from issuing Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity for nuclear facilities.

According to S.B. 678, “clean energy resource” includes solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, biomass, “waste heat derived from a clean energy source and used to produce electricity or useful, measurable thermal energy at a retail electric customer’s facility,” and “nuclear energy resources, including an uprate to a nuclear energy facility, fusion energy, or hydrogen derived from a clean energy resource.”

Pritzker defends nuclear bill veto, but leaves an opening

August 30, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News

Speaking at an event last week at the University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign, Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker defended his recent veto of S.B. 76—the bipartisan bill that would have lifted the state’s decades-old moratorium on nuclear plant construction. At the same time, he extolled the promise of small modular reactors and said he would sign an amended version of the legislation.

Illinois lawmakers approve lifting ban on nuclear plant construction

May 23, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Illinois General Assembly has given the nod to S.B. 0076, a bill that would repeal the state’s decades-old moratorium on new nuclear power plant construction.

After passing the Senate in a 39–13 vote on March 30, the legislation proceeded to the House, where it was amended and approved 84–22 on May 18, then sent back to the Senate for concurrence. Late on May 19, the Senate agreed, 36–14 (with 3 voting “present”), to the proposed amendment. The bill now moves to Gov. J. B. Pritzker’s desk for consideration.

Granholm promotes nuclear and Build Back Better

December 14, 2021, 7:32AMNuclear News
Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm tours the Braidwood control room on December 9. (Photo: Exelon)

Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm toured the Braidwood nuclear plant in Illinois last week as part of a statewide tour to promote the climate provisions in the recently passed trillion-dollar infrastructure law and the Build Back Better Act, over which the Senate continues to haggle.

Hope still alive for Byron, Dresden plants

September 1, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News
The Dresden nuclear power plant

With essentially no time to spare, the Illinois Senate early this morning passed a clean energy omnibus package that includes $694 million in assistance to three of the state’s financially troubled nuclear plants: Braidwood, Byron, and Dresden. The vote was 39–16. (Both the Senate and House had returned to the capital on Tuesday for a one-day special session to consider legislative redistricting.)

Exelon still “hopeful” for state aid to IL plants, but solution remains in limbo

August 5, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

A $6 billion lifeline for struggling U.S. nuclear power plants is reportedly included in the nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill currently being mulled over in the U.S. Senate, but it won’t be thrown in time to rescue Illinois’s Byron and Dresden plants, according to owner and operator Exelon.

In an August 4 statement on second-quarter earnings, Exelon’s president and chief executive officer, Chris Crane, noted that while his company is encouraged by the growth of federal support for policies that acknowledge the value of nuclear’s clean energy generation, “passage of legislation remains uncertain and, regardless, will come too late to save our Byron and Dresden plants from early retirement this fall. While we remain hopeful that a state solution will pass in time to save the plants, clean energy legislation in Illinois remains caught in negotiations over unrelated policy matters, leaving us no choice but to continue down the path of closing the plants.” (Last August, Exelon announced its intention to prematurely retire Byron and Dresden, citing long­standing economic pressures. Last week, the company filed decommissioning plans for the two nuclear facilities.)