Senator Laura EllmanNAPERVILLE — Construction of small-scale nuclear reactors will soon be possible in the state for the first time since 1987, thanks to an initiative supported by State Senator Laura Ellman that was signed by the governor Friday.

“Our state’s energy portfolio can be improved if we invest more into carbon-free nuclear-based energy,” said Ellman (D-Naperville). “This law signals to investors that Illinois prioritizes clean and reliable energy as we move toward the next generation that prioritizes nuclear technologies.”

The legislation repeals the state’s decades-long moratorium on the construction of small modular reactors rated at 300 megawatts or less, approximately one-third the size of the smallest existing nuclear power plants in Illinois, beginning Jan. 1, 2026. The law also requires the state to commission a study to inform rules for regulating small modular reactors.

“New nuclear power broadens the shift from fossil fuels to sustainable and secure energy and helps achieve meeting our goal of being 100% carbon-free,” said Ellman. “Illinois recognizes the importance of nuclear power, and this allows us to build on it.”

House Bill 2473 – which Ellman was a chief co-sponsor of – is effective June 1, 2024.