SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — For nearly 40 years, Illinois has had a moratorium on building new nuclear power plants in the state. It looked like the state would lift the ban.
Lawmakers sent a bipartisan measure to the governor’s desk to do just that, but Governor J.B. Pritzker vetoed it.
“The governor’s veto of my bill was a complete shock to everyone involved,” said Senator Sue Rezin (R-Morris). “This was a heavily negotiated bill. On both sides of the aisle.”
The bill would legalize the construction of advanced nuclear reactors, but Pritzker said the language was too vague, and could lead to too many plants being built.
“At the end, it got broadened to just any advanced reactor,” Pritzker said. “And so, you know, that’s the reason that I had to veto it.”
Rezin sponsored the bill the governor vetoed. She cited University of Illinois research into micro reactors as the inspiration behind the push. Micro reactors are much smaller, and can be transported on the back of a truck. Its something Rezin believed would be helpful in more remote areas of the state.
“We will continue to educate many of my colleagues in the House and in the Senate and people around the state to allow them to see that this new technology is exciting,” Rezin said. “Its innovative, but more importantly, it provides reliable, resilient power, which is incredibly important.”
Governor Pritzker has said that technology shows promise, but as the state leans more into wind and solar, he chose to not take the nuclear option for now.
“I think that’s something that we should open up the possibility for, it’s still under study,” Pritzker said. “It’s still being developed in other states.”