Illinois state lawmakers ended the veto session by pushing through legislation that will send the state in a new direction in energy production.

They agreed to end the moratorium on building new nuclear power plants. It’s been in place since 1987.

This clears the way for construction of smaller nuclear reactors. Lawmakers overwhelmingly adopted a similar measure in the spring only to have Gov. JB Pritzker veto it. At the time the governor said there were loopholes that would have made it possible to build larger reactors.

Lawmakers and the governor worked out their differences to put in specific language. that limits the size.

The Senate passed it Wednesday and it cleared the house on Thursday. Pritzker still has the power to veto it because it’s technically a new bill, but all indications are he will sign it after being part of the talks.

That’s despite opposition from environmental groups worried about the overall safety of nuclear power and the disposal of nuclear waste. It will take a while before any new plants could be built.

Getting rid of the moratorium on building nuclear power plants signals a big shift in Illinois policy. State lawmakers didn’t give up on it after the governor’s veto.

One of those who supports lifting the moratorium with these restrictions is State Sen. Mike Halpin of Rock Island County, who joins host Jim Niedelman via Zoom from Springfield.

“I feel we need to position ourselves as a state looking to do that research so we can provide a bridge as we phase out our fossil-fuels energy production and transition to our renewable sources,” Halpin said.

To hear what else Sen. Halpin has to say, click on the video.

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