Inspenet, November 15, 2023.
Illinois is set to lift a 36-year ban on building new nuclear reactors. This step is part of the state’s efforts to transition to cleaner energy sources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
However, the focus will be on small modular nuclear reactors (SMR) rather than large-scale reactors.
The decision to prioritize small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) in Illinois has generated mixed responses. State Senator Sue Rezin, who co-sponsored the bill, argues that SMRs could represent a solution for regions that previously relied on coal power, while creating new employment opportunities for skilled workers. Additionally, it highlights the potential benefits to Illinois’ agriculture and technology industries by expediting their decarbonization efforts.
On the other hand, critics like Abe Scarr of the Illinois Public Interest Group express skepticism about the viability of SMRs. Scarr argues that these are still a speculative technology, pointing to the recent cancellation of an SMR project by NuScale Power Corporation due to financing issues.
The lifting of the ban on the construction of new nuclear reactors reflects the state’s impatience to wait for a permanent solution to the problem of nuclear waste in the country. With the governor’s backing, the bill is anticipated to become law, making Illinois the latest state to reverse nuclear bans.
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