WASHINGTON, DC – August 27, 2020 – Today, North America’s Building Trades Unions released the following statement about the Exelon Generation announcement that it intends to retire its Byron Generating Station and Dresden Generating Station in fall 2021:
“North America’s Building Trades Unions are alarmed by the announcement that two more U.S. nuclear plants are closing. Shutting down these two emissions-free nuclear plants will have a devastating impact on the lives of thousands of working men and women in Illinois.
“Current energy policy unfairly devalues nuclear energy even though it is by far the most reliable source of clean energy. This is bad for communities and businesses. Without robust use of nuclear energy, the United States cannot meet the proposed net zero midcentury targets, and dependable on-demand baseload energy production in the future is currently impossible without it as well. It’s an indispensable component of the energy mix needed to transition to the clean energy economy of the future that the loudest voices in the energy debate talk about.
“Should Dresden and Byron power plants close, Illinois will not only lose steady and reliable power, but gone are the economic underpinnings of the rural communities where these nuclear stations are located. Nuclear power plants are an important part of a community’s tax base while employing thousands of direct and indirect jobs. They also support funding for schools, police, fire and other essential community services and are the lifeblood of small businesses in these regions.
“Throughout our country, NABTU continues to engage with proponents of clean energy, policymakers and regulators who have been working on the transition to the proposed Green Economy, but we continually get stuck on the so-called “just transition” for those who work in the energy industry. The solution to just transition has not been identified as of yet, but one thing is clear: in the nuclear portion of our country’s energy production, there is no need for a just transition. This power source already meets the criteria for those legitimately seeking the balance of clean energy and middle-class family-sustaining jobs. At this point, NABTU looks to those proponents of the clean energy future to prevent the closing of not only Dresden and Byron nuclear stations, but the entire existing fleet. If they don’t engage and quickly find a solution, we fear that the just transition to prioritize middle-class sustaining careers of the future is just lip service and political rhetoric. We are watching and waiting for those leaders to step up.”