WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, asked the Biden Administration to use executive authority to keep the Byron and Dresden nuclear power stations operating.
Kinzinger, in a letter addressed to President Joe Biden, asks that emergency powers be used until the legislative process in Illinois or Washington offers a solution.
Kinzinger is a member of the U.S. House energy and commerce committee. He and Rep. Mike Doyle, a Pennsylvania Democrat, introduced legislation in early August to establish a financial credit program for certain civil nuclear power plants.
The issue is seen by power companies as an uneven playing field for different types of power generation; the result is that nuclear power operates at a financial loss.
Exelon Generation, which operates Byron, announced last year it intends to retire that plant in September. Dresden, which is in Morris, is slated to close in November. The Byron plant is licensed to operate for another 20 years, Dresden for 10.
In the letter to the president, Kinzinger wrote:
“I am gravely concerned about both the nationwide trend of a thinning nuclear fleet as well the parochial interests involved with the decommissioning of Byron and Dresden stations, the result of which will be disastrous for individuals and municipalities in my district.”
Kinzinger wrote that the Defense Production Act and the Federal Power Act both offer routes the president could take to keep the stations open for reasons of national defense and public interest
Keeping the plants operating is important in the face of extreme weather, the COVID-19 pandemic, security of power in the face of cyber attacks and for meeting the administration’s own policy objectives in the realm of climate change.
“This, of course, is a serious problem and one that requires swift action,” said Kinzinger in a release announcing his appeal. “My constituents and the communities I serve are desperately asking me for help, so I’m pulling out all the stops.”
In a related news release issued by Exelon Generation, it said its nuclear fleet of nuclear power generators delivered 99% reliability in June and 99.9% in July to more than 11 million homes and businesses. In addition to Byron and Dresden, Exelon has nuclear generating stations at Braidwood, Clinton, LaSalle County and Quad Cities.