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The news reported in the Quad-City Times “Exelon warns Q-C nuke plant could close in 2018,” of the potential premature retirement of the Quad-Cities and Clinton nuclear plants due to external economic challenge, is unfortunate. It is imperative that the Illinois General Assembly passes the Next Generation Energy Plan, which would properly value these two plants for the carbon-free energy they provide.

This should happen as quickly as possible. Without passage of this plan, Illinois stands to lose these valuable sources of reliable, carbon-free energy, as well as the significant economic and job contributions these plants provide for the state – including thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of economic stimulus.

Furthermore, if the Quad-Cities and Clinton plants were to close prematurely, it would be impossible for Illinois to meet its carbon reduction goals under the federal Clean Power Plan. This is because nuclear plants in Illinois collectively provide 92 percent of the state’s carbon-free electricity.

Action is needed now to prevent these two nuclear plants from retiring prematurely. By passing the Next Generation Energy Plan, the Illinois Legislature can preserve their many benefits, as well as solidify the state’s position as a clean energy leader.

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Evan Bayh

Washington

Editor’s note: Bayh, D-Indiana, is a former U.S. senator and is co-chair of Nuclear Matters, a campaign to preserve the nation’s existing nuclear fleet

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