Sen. Sue Rezin seeks to end Illinois moratorium on nuclear reactors

Companies would have the option to invest in large or small reactors

As La Salle County's nuclear plant begins its annual refueling and maintenance outage, more than 2,000 highly skilled workers, many from local union halls, will converge on La Salle County

State Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, has advanced legislation to put Illinois one step closer to lifting its moratorium on building new nuclear reactors.

Senate Bill 76 would delete the language that provides no construction shall commence on any new nuclear power plant to be located within the state.

“For over 35 years, our state has had an archaic and arbitrary ban on the construction of new nuclear power plants,” Rezin said in a news release sent Thursday. “This moratorium has remained in place despite the fact that Illinois has efficiently and safely received carbon-free energy from our state’s six nuclear stations for roughly four decades.”

Under Rezin’s legislation, public utility and energy companies would be given the option to choose whether they want to invest in the construction of both traditional, large nuclear reactors or new, small modular reactors that could be placed in existing infrastructure, such as factories or preexisting coal-fired power plants already connected to the electric grid.

“New nuclear power plants, whether SMRs or the traditional, offer our state the ability to increase its energy capacity and potentially lower future energy cost with carbon-free, reliable and resilient nuclear power,” Rezin said. “They would also have the potential to help local economies of traditional coal communities that are currently or will be struggling from the loss of their decommissioned coal-fired power plants.”

Senate Bill 76 advanced out of the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee on March 8 and now awaits a vote by the full Senate chamber.