State Agencies find that possible closing of nuclear plants would cost billions to the economy and add millions of tons of carbon pollution

CHICAGO —A new state report on the impacts of nuclear power on Illinois shows the industry creates enormous environmental and economic benefits to the state. The report underscores that nuclear energy helps power the Illinois economy on many fronts and is a clean, reliable source that is vital to meeting emission reduction goals.

The state report shows that premature closure of the Byron, Quad Cities and Clinton plants would cost Illinois $1.8 billion in annual economic activity, almost 8,000 jobs and increase energy costs by as much as 16% (page 125). Furthermore, the Illinois EPA finds that the societal costs of the resulting increased air pollution from closing the nuclear plants would exceed $18 billion (page 121).

The Illinois General Assembly, in 2014, passed HR 1146 which required state agencies to conduct an assessment of how the state’s nuclear plants contributed to these priority goals in our energy sector. The results are clear.

According to an analysis prepared for the Illinois Clean Energy Coalition by SIU Emeritus Professor of Economics Stanford Levin, PhD., “the report demonstrates the importance to Illinois and its environment of the six operating nuclear power plants in the state and the reasons to prevent the premature closing of any of these plants.” Professor Levin specifically cites the state’s findings that closing even one nuclear plant would decrease the reliability and increase the cost of electricity in Illinois. He also notes the Illinois EPA findings that electricity lost from nuclear plant closings, “would will need to be replaced, at least in part, by fossil fuel plants that generate carbon emissions.” This supports the findings of the Illinois Clean Energy Coalition study of 2014 that analyzed the carbon emissions saved by nuclear power (

The Illinois Clean Energy Coalition encourages everyone interested in the twin goals of an improved environment and a growing economy, to review the findings of the state report ( to support the continued operation of Illinois nuclear power fleet.

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