© 2023 WNIJ and WNIU
Northern Public Radio
801 N 1st St.
DeKalb, IL 60115
Northern Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Byron Nuclear Power Station Not Closing

Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco
State Representative Maurice West at Byron Power Station

Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently signed a wide-ranging energy package that halted closure of the Byron Nuclear Plant after nearly a year of uncertainty.

Members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers were joined by northern Illinois legislators outside of the Byron Power Station late last week to celebrate the passage of an energy plan granting subsidies to keep the site open.

Representative Maurice West said getting the bill across the finish line was a team of effort.

“700 jobs are saved. With the passing of this legislation, a half a billion dollars of economic activity was saved,” said West. “That just doesn't affect Byron, that affects Northern Illinois, that affects our state. So we are Northern Illinois strong because of this.”

The new measure puts Illinois on the path to 100 percent clean energy by 2050, which includes setting closure timelines for coal and natural gas facilities in the state.

Senator Sue Rezin said that the legislation would ensures Illinois’ nuclear fleet, which produces over 50% of the state’s total energy, “stays operational.”

Exelon, the company that operates the power plant, is also required to apply for federal relief in order to offset a fraction of the taxpayer money going toward nuclear subsidies. The legislation will also replace the formula rate system with a “performance-based” system to be overseen by the Illinois Commerce Commission.

Juanpablo covers environmental, substandard housing and police-community relations. He’s been a bilingual facilitator at the StoryCorps office in Chicago. As a civic reporting fellow at City Bureau, a non-profit news organization that focuses on Chicago’s South Side, Ramirez-Franco produced print and audio stories about the Pilsen neighborhood. Before that, he was a production intern at the Third Coast International Audio Festival and the rural America editorial intern at In These Times magazine. Ramirez-Franco grew up in northern Illinois. He is a graduate of Knox College.