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Supporters rely on audit to save Byron Nuclear Power Plant

Recent audit put forth by Pritzker Administration recommends millions in ratepayer subsidies to prop up the Byron and Dresdon generators.
Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 6:30 PM CDT
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BYRON, Ill. (WIFR) - The clock is ticking to save the Byron Nuclear Power Plant, and a new report arrives just in time to replenish hope for supporters. In order to stay open, Exelon needs state lawmakers to weigh in with new legislation.

“But this is an issue that’s really affecting Illinois nuclear and beyond,” Byron Plant Communications Manager, Paul Dempsey said.

All hope may not be lost. According to reports, a recent audit by the Pritzker Administration recommends millions in ratepayer subsidies to help prop up the Byron and Dresdon generators.

“I think there just needs to be some consensus on what’s the best energy policy for keeping Illinois one of the cleanest energy markets in the country,” said Dempsey.

Dempsey hopes legislation by the state includes keeping the plants open at the end of May.

“These plants run 95% of the time and they are carbon free,” Dempsey said. “It’s really important to make them a part of the energy market in Illinois.”

“As far as the employment, the people that support our community and the indirect businesses that are affected,” Byron’s Chamber of Commerce executive director Sarah Downs said.

Downs said the carbon-free electricity generated from the reactors is undervalued, and closure could affect Illinois’ policy goals. Dempsey said he hopes this spurs lawmakers to act soon.

“If the right legislation doesn’t come forward, the plants will have to close,” Dempsey said.

The two plants power more than 4 million homes. It also generates about 30 percent of the state’s carbon free energy supply.

According to Exelon, the two facilities employ more than 1,500 people directly and pay more than $63 million in local taxes.

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