What is next for Byron? Nuclear plant could remain open if Senate passes energy bill

Local News

BYRON, Ill. (WTVO) – The power could stay on at Byron’s nuclear power plant after House representatives passed an energy bill.

The bill goes back to the senate Monday, the same day Exelon says they will run out of fuel at the Byron Generating Station. It will be down to the wire, as Exelon has threatened to decommission the plant without a new energy bill.

Despite the bill passing Thursday night, the city is still on standby to see if the plant will really be saved. Byron Mayor John Rickard says he is holding onto hope state senators will sign this version of the bill and send it to the governors desk, but right now, he says he is still worried.

“It’s not a true relief, yet it raises some hopes,” said Rickard. “We’re still sitting here, kind of waiting, because this is good news, but it’s not great news yet. It has not really changed the emotional position, at least with the folks I’ve talked to so far. People can see it happening and people can see it still failing. In some ways, it does not change anything because we still don’t have an answer.”

State senators will make the call on the bill which Governor Pritzker has said he will sign on Monday, but it is not without local debate.

Brian Stewart, the 45th district’s Republican senator, wrote on his website that the energy bill is not friendly to nuclear power. However, 34th district Democratic senator Steve Stadelman is confident it will pass.

“At the end of the day, this is our future policy when it comes to energy in the state, and it has a lot of benefits for a lot of different stakeholders, a lot of people across the state,” Stadelman said. “If those plants close, it will cause a lot of problems, as far as reliability and affordability of energy in the state. I think people realize we have a deadline facing us. Exelon has said it’s going to close the plants and that deadline is apparently Monday. Nothing more than lawmakers need is than a deadline staring them in the faces, and I think we’re at that point right now.”

Eyewitness News will keep you updated on the latest decision of the plant’s fate on Monday.

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