Illinois Nuclear Industry Essay

899 Words Sep 26th, 2015 4 Pages
Illinois Nuclear Industry
Illinois is the nation’s nuclear energy leader. Illinois has more nuclear power plants, employs more people in the nuclear industry and produces more electricity through nuclear power than any other state in the nation. However, the plants are no longer operating profitably and some are at risk of closure due to electric prices being driven down by pollution emitting carbon based plants and by the wind energy industry being subsidized by the federal government. 1 It is crucial for Illinois lawmakers to take a pro-nuclear stance in order to ensure the survival of this vital industry for years to come.
Why is nuclear power so important to Illinois? * Illinois’ nuclear facilities generate 90 percent of the
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This is driving down the price of electricity and increasing greenhouse gas emissions in Illinois.3
What kind of opposition can be expected by supporting the nuclear industry?
Supporting nuclear energy does carry some risks. Nuclear energy is largely misunderstood by the public and many activist groups oppose the industry. The word “nuclear” often carries images of plant meltdowns and radiation poisoning. The reality is that nuclear plants have operated safely in the United States without major incident for over fifty years. The 1979 Three-Mile Island partial meltdown was never found to have caused any serious public health problems and current technology would prevent such an accident to happen today. 5
The other major concern is nuclear waste. Nuclear plants need to store spent uranium fuel rods after they have lived out their useful lives. Currently, these rods are stored on site in wet or dry containment facilities. This is a potential hazard that some environmentalist and public safety groups fight. Supporting a long-term storage option in the Yucca Mountain in Nevada would help get these spent rods off site and end the controversy surrounding storing them in more populous areas.
What can Congress do to help the nuclear industry in Illinois? 1. Congress needs to end the Production Tax Credit that wind turbine operators are currently receiving.

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