News Local/State

Future Of Illinois Nuclear Plants In Question


Rumblings continue about possible closures of several nuclear power stations in Illinois, including the Clinton nuclear plant.

A spokesman for Exelon's Byron station in northern Illinois confirms there are economic pressures on the Byron station, the Clinton nuclear power station in DeWitt County and the Quad Cities facility. The spokesman says Exelon sent lawmakers information in the hopes they would gain a better understanding of the value of these nuclear facilities to the state economy and the impact of closing at-risk facilities early.

David Kolata heads the Citizens Utility Board. He says an increase in natural gas production from fracking means the supply of energy is high and energy prices have fallen.

However, he doubts that Exelon will close its Byron facility soon, because of investments the company has made in renewing the plant’s license and building new transmission lines that would benefit the plant.

And Kolata cautions lawmakers against passing on Exelon's financial burdens to consumers.

“There has to be transparency if this is going to be considered”, said Kolara. “They really have to open their books. We can’t just simply take their word at it that they are losing money, especially since we know that the company is very profitable. We also know overall the fleet is profitable in Illinois.”

A spokesperson for the Quad-Cities station tells the Rock Island Dispatch the company won't make a final decision on any nuclear plant closings until after next June, giving state lawmakers time to study the market and find solutions.