SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — On Friday, Gov. JB Pritzker vetoed a bill that would have enabled the construction of new nuclear reactors in Illinois.
Senate Bill 76 would have removed language in the state statute that prevents new nuclear power plants from being located within the state.
“The bill is vetoed because the vague definitions in the bill, including the overly broad definition of advanced reactors, will 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’s office said. “Additionally, it provides no regulatory protections or updates to address the health and safety of Illinois residents who would live and work around these new reactors.”
The ban has been in place since 1987. As part of the moratorium, the federal government was supposed to build its own permanent disposal facility for nuclear waste the plants would produce, but that never happened.
Illinois is the only state in the country with its own high-level radioactive waste storage site.
In 2021, Gov. JB Pritzker signed the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, which put Illinois on a path toward a completely clean energy power structure by 2050.
This year, the Byron Generating Station announced it will increase its energy output as part of an $800 million upgrade by Constellation.
Constellation says the carbon-free power generated will result in the equivalent of removing 171,000 gas-powered vehicles from the road, as Illinois paves the way for more electric vehicles. Illinois plans to have 1 million EVs on the road by 2035.
The Byron plant was saved from premature retirement by the passage of the Illinois Climate and Equitable Jobs Act in 2021.
The Byron plant has been in operation since 1985 and is licensed to operate into mid 2040.