Byron and Dresden nuclear energy plants are on the chopping block

This leaves lawmakers about a month and a half to strike a clean energy deal.
Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 10:18 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - “The urgent situation here is the pending closure of two nuclear plants in Illinois in the next couple of months,” said State Representative Tom Demmer.

Time is running out to save the Byron and Dresden nuclear energy facilities. Exelon leaders say low energy prices have put both plants hundreds of millions of dollars in the red. Although the plants aren’t as profitable for Exelon, both are huge economic drivers in their community.

“We’ve seen report after report talking about hundreds of millions of dollars of annual economic impact from thousands of jobs. This is an incredibly big part of our local economy,” Demmer said.

If state lawmakers don’t come up with an agreement on clean energy legislation, Byron’s largest employer would start its shut down plans this fall. Exelon says staffing at the plants would fall from 1500 to as few as 30 employees over the next 10 years.

“It hurts definitely,” said Mayor of Byron John Rickard. “It means that a total of 700 jobs in the area won’t be there anymore. A number of people won’t be coming to town anymore, so it has a negative effect on the neighborhood.”

With Byron’s first reactor set to close September 14, it leaves lawmakers about a month and a half to strike a clean energy deal. Demmer says talks continue in Springfield, and legislators could be called at any time for a vote.

“They still say that this is not the point of no return that there’s still an opportunity for legislation to pass that could keep Byron and the other nuclear plants open and operating, but boy time is running out,” Demmer said

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