The fate of Illinois' nuclear economy

March 17, 2011

Produced by Eight Forty-Eight

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(Getty/Scott Olson)
Illinois has more nuclear reactors than any other state.

Worries about nuclear power are rippling across the world as Japan struggles to stave off a potential nuclear meltdown. Earlier in the week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the temporary closure of some of the country’s nuclear plants. And China has suspended the approval of new nuclear plants until safety standards are revised.

Illinois has had a moratorium on new nuclear plants since 1987 but nuclear energy still has a vital presence in the state's economy. Illinois has more reactors than any other state and about half of the its electricity is powered by nuclear plants.

So as governments here and abroad start to weigh the risks and benefits of nuclear energy, Eight Forty-Eight spoke to Chicago Tribune's Michael Hawthorne about the future of nuclear energy in the state.