ANS's Nesbit joins panel on Illinois radio program

September 20, 2021, 9:30AMANS News

Nesbit

Following the passage of Illinois’s Energy Transition Act last week, an NPR affiliate in central Illinois hosted a 30-minute panel discussion with three guests to discuss the landmark legislation. The radio program, The 21st Show, invited Jennifer Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, Mark Denzler, president and chief executive officer of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association, and Steven Nesbit, president of the American Nuclear Society, to discuss the different sides of this debate. Two were supporters of the bill, and one was opposed to it.

Background: Because of the “landmark but controversial clean energy bill,” as described on The 21st Show’s website, “Nuclear power plants will be kept online, and solar and wind developments will continue to grow, while coal and natural gas power plants are expected to gradually go off line. In the long term, Illinois's electricity will be produced completely from clean sources by 2050.”

Illinois governor signs energy bill aiding nuclear plants

September 16, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News
Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker appreciates applause at the signing event for the state's new energy bill.

In an hour-long ceremony held yesterday at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium amid some fanfare (it included an appearance by lizards, a snake, and a penguin), Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (S.B. 2408). The bill is a sweeping overhaul of the state’s energy policies aimed at phasing out fossil-fuel power generation and placing Illinois on a path to become a 100 percent carbon-free energy producer by 2050.

Illinois lawmakers try one more time to save imperiled nuclear plants

August 31, 2021, 12:01PMNuclear News

Yesterday morning with about two weeks to go before the scheduled permanent closure of Illinois’s Byron nuclear power plant, state Sen. Michael Hastings (D., 19th Dist.) filed a proposal to end the state legislature’s stalemate on a clean energy package that would, among other things, provide financial aid to Byron, as well as to other endangered nuclear power facilities in the state, via a carbon mitigation credit program.

Nuclear advocacy group presses for legislative action in Illinois

July 26, 2021, 3:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Czerwinski

Writing in today’s suburban Chicago Daily Herald, Madison Czerwinski, executive director of Campaign for a Green Nuclear Deal, warns of the damage to Illinois’s clean energy aspirations should the state’s policymakers fail to agree in time on legislation providing some form of aid to Exelon’s imperiled Byron and Dresden nuclear plants, both of which are slated for closure later this year. (And “in time” in this case means the next few weeks.)

Czerwinski notes in a guest column that despite the executive order signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in January 2019 committing Illinois to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the Paris climate agreement, electricity emissions in the state are up from last year by 36 percent—a number that will only grow in the event an acceptable bill is not forthcoming.

No deal yet in Illinois for Exelon nuclear plants

June 17, 2021, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Illinois Senate adjourned on June 15 without calling a comprehensive energy regulatory reform package for a vote, Capitol News Illinois reported. State Sen. Bill Cunningham (D., Chicago) and Senate president Don Harmon (D., Oak Park) said afterward that they expect a vote to happen sometime this summer as negotiations continue.

ANS, others throw weight behind bill to aid troubled Illinois nuclear plants

May 26, 2021, 6:59AMANS Nuclear Cafe

A large group of nuclear and nuclear-friendly organizations, including the American Nuclear Society, sent a letter on May 24 to Illinois lawmakers urging them to pass the Climate Union Jobs Act (CUJA) before the legislature adjourns at the end of this month.

Among its provisions, the bill would create 74 million megawatt-hours of carbon mitigation credits for Exelon’s Braidwood, Byron, Dresden, and LaSalle nuclear plants. The Clinton and Quad Cities plants, which participate in Illinois’s zero-emission credit program, would not be eligible. (In August of last year, Exelon Generation, owner and operator of all six nuclear plants in Illinois, announced that it would close Byron and Dresden without state support of some kind, adding that Braidwood and LaSalle were also imperiled.)

Exelon on governor’s plan to save Byron, Dresden: “not adequate”

May 10, 2021, 7:03AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The Byron nuclear power plant

Illinois governor J. B. Pritzker’s proposal to subsidize the state’s Byron and Dresden nuclear plants, introduced in legislative form last week, falls short, Exelon Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Crane said on May 5 during the company’s first-quarter earnings call.

“From what we’ve heard, it’s open to negotiation, but just going from the street analyst opinion and what we’ve seen, its starting point is not adequate to keep the plants’ continued operations going,” Crane stated.

Illinois governor backs limited aid to two nuclear plants

May 4, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

Pritzker

The office of Illinois governor J. B. Pritzker last week unveiled an ambitious energy plan for the state that includes limited subsidies for the financially ailing Byron and Dresden nuclear plants. (In August 2020, Exelon Generation announced that the two Illinois facilities would close this year—Byron in September and Dresden in November—without some form of compensation from the state, due to “market rules that favor polluting power plants over carbon-free nuclear energy.”)

The new plan, dubbed the Consumers and Climate First Act, calls for achieving 100 percent clean energy generation in Illinois by 2050 and recognizes nuclear as a means toward that end. “In the near term, the closure of nuclear plants in Illinois is likely to result in a generation gap that will be filled by dirty energy, namely fossil fuels,” the act states, adding that any support for nuclear should be “short-term and based on clearly demonstrated need.”

Consultant recommends subsidies for Exelon plants

April 16, 2021, 2:59PMUpdated April 19, 2021, 10:56AMNuclear News
The Byron nuclear plant is currently slated for permanent closure in September. Photo: Exelon

A research and consulting firm hired by Illinois governor J. B. Pritzker’s administration to scrutinize the financial fitness of Exelon’s Byron and Dresden nuclear plants approves of limited state subsidies for the facilities, according to a redacted version of the firm’s report made available yesterday.