Recent months have seen several U.S. states give a go-ahead for maintaining or expanding the use of nuclear power to solve their energy needs, often grudgingly, but nonetheless forced to make these sane decisions.
In early August, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) vetoed a bill which would have lifted the state’s ban on new nuclear plant construction, a ban in effect since 1987. Both houses of the Illinois legislature are controlled by Democrats, who originally passed the bill by veto-proof margins back in May. Facing an almost certain override, Pritzker then worked with legislators on a bill “creating a regulatory structure” for small modular reactors under 300MW, which he signed into law on Dec. 8. Illinois is America’s preeminent nuclear state, with six reactors providing 50% of its electrical needs.
In October, North Carolina’s Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a bill which would have added “nuclear” to the list of renewable power sources. Within weeks, that veto had been overridden and, while the legislature is controlled by Republicans, it was the addition of a handful of Democrats in both Houses which made the override of that veto possible.
Earlier this year, Michigan’s Palisades nuclear plant was originally condemned for closure in May, only to have the Democratic governor endorse its reopening a month later. The owner/operators of this plant, Holtec International, have now announced that they would like to double the capacity of the plant, by the addition of two 500MW small modular reactors on the same site.
This is in addition to similar moves opening the doors to new nuclear construction in Republican-run states, where a ban in effect since 1996 was lifted in West Virginia in February 2022 and in Wyoming a ban was lifted (clearing a path for Bill Gates’ TerraPower molten salt reactor) a month later.
All this pro-nuclear activity has not gone unnoticed by the anti-technology gatewatchers. The announcement of the planned expansion of Michigan’s Palisades plant was apparently the final straw for the greenies, and a triumvirate of “local” groups filed a lawsuit on Dec 6, attempting to keep the plant closed permanently.
While a certain amount of Democratic support for nuclear power is driven by the mistaken belief in the need for ending “dirty” carbon fuels, reality is upending that belief. An October report by Real Clear Policy, for example, asserts that—just as independent LaRouche U.S. Senate candidate Diane Sare said it would—"New York City’s electric grid [has gotten] 46% dirtier” in the two years since the Democrat-led shutdown of New York’s Indian Point Nuclear Plant.