Morris nuclear power plant in danger of closing as residents urge lawmakers to take action

Chicago News

MORRIS, Ill. Time is running out for state lawmakers to craft a deal that could keep two nuclear power plants open.

Exelon wants major state subsidies to keep their plants operational, leaving some lawmakers weary of a bailout for the parent company of ComEd.

Morris, a city situated on the Illinois River with a population just over 14,000 sports a downtown echoing nostalgic images of ‘Main Street America.’ At 61 miles away from Chicago, it is also home to the Dresden Nuclear Power Plant.

“They’re good paying jobs and good families,” electrician Jimmy Glidic said.

With nearly 1,000 employees, the plant also powers the city’s local economy, supporting some 4,000 indirect jobs.

“Our life is on hold for nuclear for the decision on legislation,” Glidic said.

Jimmy and his wife Krystal are discussing kitchen table issues with the very real possibility of the plant’s closure.

“I have another 20 years before I can retire, I’ll be out looking for a new job,” Krystal Glidic said.

Jimmy has worked at the Dresden plant for 29 years, with Krystal working at another Exelon facility.

There are lawn signs up and down his Channahon neighborhood, a message he brought to Springfield as hundreds rallied that the lawmakers approve a bill that would provide subsidies to keep the plants open.

State lawmakers are fast approaching the May 31 deadline, the final day of the session. The state is about to lose $300 million in federal funding for renewable energy, with some legislators balking at a so-called ‘nuclear bailout’ for Exelon.

Exelon is the parent company of ComEd, the company embroiled in a State House bribery scandal.

Exelon operates six nuclear plants in Illinois, and has received more than $2 billion in subsidies over the last decade. The company is demanding more money to continue operations, saying it’s at a disadvantage as rules allow fossil fuel plants to produce cheaper energy and underbid them.

Exelon said if it doesn’t get what it wants, it could close the plants in Morris and Byron as early as this coming fall.

Supporters of the plant warn of the potential impact of the plant’s closures on the state’s energy, economy and environment.

“Get in there and pass these bills for us, and get them done for the communities, for our families sake, for the state of Illinois, we need these bills passed so these plants can stay open,” Krystal Glidic said.

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