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Illinois will soon allow construction of new nuclear power projects

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(The Center Square) – A new law puts an end to a statewide moratorium on new nuclear power plants from the 1980s, officially bringing the prospect of new nuclear power plants back to the Land of Lincoln.

The measure first passed earlier this year but was vetoed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

“The bill is vetoed because the vague definitions in the bill, including the overly broad definition of advanced reactors, will open the door to the proliferation of large-scale nuclear reactors that are so costly to build that they will cause exorbitant ratepayer-funded bailouts,” Pritzker said in August.

Pritzker said the original measure was a safety issue for those near the new construction sights.

“This provides no regulatory protections or updates to address the health and safety of Illinois residents who would live and work around these new reactors,” Pritzker said in a statement.

A revised measure from state Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, was passed during the fall veto session and signed by Pritzker on Friday.

Under the new law, the state can approve the construction of new small module reactors in different parts of the state. SMRs produce a large amount of low-carbon electricity but are a fraction of the size of a traditional reactor.

Rezin reworked the bill during last month’s veto session to address some of the governor’s concerns.

“This has been a long time coming,” Rezin said. “This language is carefully crafted based on the governor’s veto message. It makes a lot of changes to the original Senate Bill 76 that lifted the ban in Illinois.”

Rezin said advancements have been made since the state enacted its moratorium in 1987.

“We must act quickly to ensure that our state has the opportunity to take advantage of the amazing advancements in new nuclear technology that have occurred over the past couple of decades,” said Rezin.

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