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State Moratorium on Nuclear To Be Discussed

Lawmakers went on a two-week spring break last week with more than 700 bills already passed in at least one chamber of the General Assembly.


They will return to Springfield on April 18 for a final one-month stretch in which the measures can be amended, defeated or sent to the governor.


Among the bills to successfully move to the other chamber are a measure to lift the state’s 1987 moratorium on nuclear power plant construction, a bill that would create statewide building codes and another requiring retail establishments to accept cash payments within certain hours.


Gov. JB Pritzker noted last week that he’s generally supportive of the concept of lifting the nuclear construction ban, although he didn’t commit to signing the proposal contained in Senate Bill 76, which passed on a 39-13 bipartisan roll call.


Pritzker said he is supportive of allowing for the construction of small modular nuclear reactors, which are small-scale generators that could be used to power individual factories or for other uses.

He said he didn’t think doing so would be contradictory to the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act that he signed in 2021. Some environmentalists have opposed lifting the nuclear ban due to the dangers associated with nuclear waste.


“These are smaller, less prone to an accident, more likely for us to be able to maintain them for a long period of time, that's something that's worthy of consideration,” Pritzker said. “Now the devil’s in the details and we want to make sure that we're not just opening this up to nuclear everywhere or any type of nuclear.”


SB 76, as written, would allow any type of nuclear construction, including the large-scale projects.


“I don't know where that bill will go this session, but I'm not opposed to it as if I'm, you know, just dead set against any nuclear,” he said. “I just want, if we're going to consider it, it's got to be safe.”

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