Illinois Chamber President voices support for renewal of nuclear power licensesJuly 12th, 2013 | Posted by in announcements
Illinois Chamber President Doug Whitley sent the following message to over 5,000 Chamber members and state leaders voicing strong support for the renewal of nuclear generating station licenses in Illinois.
July 3, 2013
It’s time to extend the life (and the benefits!) of Illinois’ nuclear fleet
It’s no secret that Illinois continues to face significant challenges to creating, attracting and retaining jobs. But amid discussion of tax rates, regulation, pension reform and infrastructure improvement, there is one relatively constant asset that helps keep Illinois competitive in the global marketplace — a reliable, abundant and cost-competitive supply of electricity.
To maintain an abundant and diverse electricity supply, without brownouts or limits on access, and to be able to provide that supply at competitive rates, Illinois relies heavily on its fleet of nuclear power generating stations. Illinois has more nuclear power generation than any state in the union, and nearly 45% of Illinois’ electricity is produced by nuclear. We need to support the continued operation of these vital components of our energy infrastructure.
Whether or not you agree with President Obama’s recent push on making America a leader in reducing carbon emissions, every kind of energy generation is looking to improve its costs, efficiency, reliability and, yes, its carbon footprint. While coal and gas remain viable and important sources of electricity and our renewable sector continues to grow, Illinois’ nuclear industry combines capacity, reliability and efficiency without any carbon emissions. At the same time, nuclear generation employs thousands of Illinoisans and injects billions into our state’s economy every year.
As part of the extensive oversight of nuclear power plants, two of Illinois’ generating stations, in Byron and Braidwood, have applied for a 20-year renewal of their operating licenses with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It is crucial for the business community to strongly support these applications.
It’s hard to get any kind of serious energy policy going in today’s political environment and it’s hard to predict how new technologies will affect future electricity generation opportunities. However, it doesn’t take a nuclear physicist to figure out that a diverse, reliable supply of electricity will create a cost-competitive supply that our economy needs to thrive. If our economy was the top of a stool, the four legs that would keep it from wobbling would be nuclear, cleaner coal, natural gas and renewable energy — with additional support through efficiency and conservation activities.
Therefore, as energy policy evolves, we can and should continue to rely on the abundant, safe, and cost-effective nuclear power supply to power our economy forward.
The Illinois Chamber of Commerce, along with other business groups, policy makers, elected officials and labor leaders, have joined forces in support of the Illinois Clean Energy Coalition which is rallying voices from across the state in support of Illinois’ nuclear industry. Please take a moment to add your voice to the cause at www.ilcleanenergy.org.