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Nonprofit warns about new nuclear options as Illinois prepares for them | Illinois


(The Center Square) – A new documentary is critical of how nuclear power is being portrayed as Illinois is poised to allow more nuclear power options.  

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign into law a bill that will allow the use of small modular reactors, or SMRs, in Illinois. SMRs are defined as reactors with a capacity of 300 megawatts or less. The term ‘modular’ refers to serial factory production of reactor components, which proponents say could drive down costs.

The documentary “Atomic Bamboozle: The False Promise of a Nuclear Renaissance” will be released Thursday in Chicago. 

After the screening, David Kraft, director of the Illinois-based Nuclear Energy Information Service, is scheduled to take part in a panel discussion on the fight against nuclear power and its role in the climate justice movement. Kraft has been an outspoken critic of Illinois lawmakers who voted to lift the state’s moratorium on nuclear power construction. Nuclear Energy Information Service is a non-profit organization dedicated to ending nuclear power.

“Nature abhors a vacuum, and one created by our movements’ collective failure to make our case is one the nuclear industry will happily move to fill until and unless the enviros and renewable vendors make a far more compelling argument than they have so far that a renewable energy future is indeed possible and necessary,” Kraft said in a statement. 

The Illinois Manufacturers Association applauded the move. 

“Manufacturers use one-third of all energy consumed in the United States to produce needed medicines, food and other important goods,” IMA President Mark Denzler said in a statement. “Ensuring there are safe, reliable, and low-cost sources of energy is critically important for our sector and consumers who rely on these products.”

Currently, there are no SMRs in operation or being produced anywhere in the U.S. A company with a Utah utility that planned to build the first small modular nuclear plant in the country canceled the project earlier this month due to escalating costs.  

The owner of the Palisades Nuclear Plant in Van Buren County, Michigan, announced plans this week to build two SMRs and said they would be up and running by mid-2030.

A recent Pew survey showed that 57% of Americans favor more nuclear plants, up from 43% in 2016. 

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Caleb Alexander

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