Illinois lawmakers vote to spare 2 nuclear plants

Illinois governor Bruce Rauner.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Illinois governor Bruce Rauner. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – A plan to keep two Illinois nuclear power plants operating and save thousands of jobs is on its way to Gov. Bruce Rauner, who supports the measure.

The Senate voted 32-18 to approve the plan Thursday night just an hour after it got House approval 63-38.

The measure provides $235 million a year to Exelon Corp. for 13 years. Exelon counts it as a subsidy for nuclear power producing no gases harmful to the atmosphere.

It allows unprofitable nuclear plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities to stay open.

Proponents say it will cost electricity ratepayers less than 25 cents a month and provide hundreds of millions of dollars in energy-efficiency programs.

Critics say it’s a corporate bailout that will hike energy prices and that Illinois has enough power generation without the nuclear plants.

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The bill is SB2814.

By JOHN O’CONNOR,¬†AP Political Writer