Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs measure lifting Illinois’ moratorium on new nuclear power plants

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a measure on Friday officially ending a nearly four-decade ban on the construction of nuclear plants in the state. The legislation, which takes effect on June 1, comes as policymakers reconsider nuclear power as a potential way to generate energy without increasing carbon output.

The new measure sets limits on the size of new nuclear plants that will be allowed and focuses on small modular reactors, a new generation of Technology that supporters believe could help Illinois achieve its goal of carbon-free power generation by midcentury.

The decision to lift the moratorium sparked debate between different factions of the Democratic Party, with labor unions backing the measure and environmental groups opposing it. The original version of the bill was vetoed by Pritzker due to concerns about the allowed size of nuclear plants, but a revised version was passed by legislators to address these issues.

The legislation resulted from negotiations between lawmakers, labor unions, manufacturers, and environmental groups. It also includes a study to identify any potential regulatory gaps for nuclear power in the state.

While the measure has led to speculations about whether and how quickly new nuclear plants will be constructed in Illinois, experts believe a variety of economic factors and federal policy decisions will ultimately determine if a new nuclear power boom happens in the state or elsewhere in the U.S.

In addition to the nuclear plant legislation, Pritzker also signed a law to boost the pensions for some Chicago police officers, bringing their cost-of-living increases on par with Chicago firefighters’ pensions.

The lifting of the ban on nuclear plant construction in Illinois marks the end of a policy that has been in place since September 11, 1987, and signals a potential shift in the state’s approach to energy generation. However, the full impact of the new legislation remains uncertain, with economic and federal policy factors playing a significant role in determining the future of nuclear power in the state.

Overall, the recent legislative decisions reflect the evolving landscape of energy production in Illinois and the ongoing debate surrounding the role of nuclear power within the state’s energy portfolio.

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