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Illinois Senate votes to lift nuclear construction ban

WSIU Public Broadcasting | By Andrew Adams | Capitol News Illinois, March 31, 2023 

Environmental, anti-nuclear groups oppose the legislation

The Illinois Senate approved a measure on Thursday that would lift a 1980s-era moratorium on nuclear power plant construction.

Senate Bill 76, sponsored by Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, was approved on a 39-13 vote. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration………………

Rezin said on the Senate floor that the bill would specifically allow for the construction of small modular nuclear reactors, or SMRs. ………………………………….

Senate proponents of the bill, including Sens. Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago, and Patrick Joyce, D-Essex, said that lifting the ban would help the state attract investment in new technology………………………….

“By lifting this ban, it allows Illinois, should they choose, to go after federal dollars that are provided by this administration, the Biden administration, who is embracing, supporting and investing in advanced nuclear reactors,” Rezin said.

Sen. Ram Villivalam, D-Chicago, said the bill was “still not fully baked,” adding that the question of what is done with nuclear waste still doesn’t have a solution.

“Whether it’s one pound or a thousand pounds, it’s still nuclear waste,” he said. …………

The state’s ban went into effect in 1987 and was intended to remain in effect until the federal government identifies a national nuclear waste disposal strategy. In 1987, Congress identified a site in Nevada as the nation’s repository for nuclear waste, although later opposition from the state and the White House quashed that plan. No national disposal site has been designated.

Some of the state’s largest environmental groups, including the Illinois Environmental Council, oppose the measure. Jack Darin, the head of the Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club, told Capitol News Illinois earlier this month that his organization doesn’t believe nuclear energy is “clean energy,” citing concerns over the environmental impact of nuclear waste.

David Kraft, the head of the Nuclear Energy Information Service, an anti-nuclear advocacy group based in Chicago, has said the bill will weaken the state’s landmark energy policy, the 2021 Climate and Equitable Jobs Act.

“Small modulars are not climate solutions, they’re not job generators until the 2030s and they’ll generate more nuclear waste,” Kraft said in a Thursday interview.

Kraft added he’s worried that lawmakers are not fully considering the safety implications of SMR technology……………………………..


April 2, 2023 - Posted by | politics, USA

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