Already a subscriber? Log in
- Unparalleled business coverage of the Iowa City / Cedar Rapids corridor.
- Immediate access to subscriber-only content on our website.
- 52 issues per year delivered digitally, in print or both.
- Support locally owned and operated journalism.
Congratulations to the Illinois General Assembly for passing another piece of legislation that will help to keep Illinois one of the most progressive states for nuclear power production. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said that he intends to sign the bill. The recently passed legislation will enable companies to develop new nuclear power generation in Illinois for the first time since 1987, according to Capitol News Illinois. House Bill 2473 does not entirely lift the 36-year-old moratorium on nuclear construction. Instead, it creates a regulatory structure for the construction of small modular nuclear reactors, or SMRs. The bill limits the nameplate capacity, or gross capacity, of such reactors to 300 megawatts, about one-third the size of the smallest of the six existing nuclear power plants in Illinois. It also requires the state to perform a study that will inform rules for regulating SMRs, which will be adopted by regulators at the Illinois Emergency Management Agency by January 2026. “In order to reach our clean energy goals, we may have to invest in more nuclear generated carbon-free energy,” Rep. Lance Yednock, D-Ottawa said in the Capitol News article. “The policy does not subtract from the growth of wind and solar energy; it could be an enhancement, as a potential use of small modular reactors could be to energize large manufacturers, therefore keeping more traditional new sources of energy for residential, small commercial customers and our future (electric vehicle) needs.” Because permitting nuclear energy takes many years at the federal level, the earliest a nuclear project could be brought online in Illinois would be in the 2030s. This important bill follows previous Illinois state legislation passed in 2021 that helped preserve Illinois’ nuclear fleet, specifically Exelon’s (now Constellation) struggling nuclear plants — Braidwood, Byron, and Dresden — with nearly $700 million in financial assistance. Illinois’ thoughtful approach to nuclear power will benefit residents and companies for years to come.