Summer 2023:  A victory; a challenge; and invitations

We had hoped to get this out to our supporters earlier, but as usual, Life intervened.  We wanted to share with you some of the amazing things that happened since we last wrote to you in Spring.


As our numerous Alerts to you have indicated, NEIS has been opposing pro-nuclear plans to repeal Illinois” 1987 nuclear power construction moratorium.  A repeal would open up the flood gates for the proposed “next generation” of nuclear plants to come to Illinois, which in fact was the real motivation for the legislation.

Since 2022 NEIS testified before seven legislative hearings against the moratorium repeal, and additionally offered detailed testimony about the inherent flaws and dangers of proposed “small modular nuclear reactors” (SMNRs) and so-called “advanced” reactors.  We made an overwhelmingly compelling case that more reactors of any kind would mean more nuclear bailouts, higher rates, and serious competition to the renewable energy goals of CEJA – not to mention more high-level radioactive waste, which is exactly what the 1987 moratorium had been enacted to prevent.

Despite these uncontested arguments and NEIS’ successful rebuttal replies to pro-nuclear legislators’ addressing their concerns, the legislature overwhelmingly passed the repeal (SB76) in May by margins that would suggest passage of the legislation was veto proof.

However, Governor Pritzker surprised everyone by doing exactly that – vetoing the bill.  The concerns he raised mirrored the objections that NEIS had put forth: the legislation as written would open Illinois up to ANY kind and size of nuclear reactor, something he explicitly said he would not support; and lacked sufficiently detailed language dealing with safety concerns.  The veto caught everyone off guard – enviro groups, pro-moratorium legislators, and especially pro-nuclear advocates in the legislature, who immediately set about to file the paperwork to override the Governor’s veto in the Fall Legislative Session, which begins October 24-27.

For now, the moratorium has won a reprieve.

NEIS thanks those of you who submitted comments and made calls in support of the moratorium, and against new nuclear plants.  They apparently made a huge difference to the Governor.


Because NEIS had not anticipated the Governor’s veto, we had already put into motion pieces of our “Plan B”.  The veto helps provide more time to educate the public and educators about the “mythical” SMNRs, and how their pursuit and arrival would sabotage the renewables goals of CEJA.

However, the euphoria was short-lived, as the Governor was quick to go public after the veto with his overall support for SMNRs, and urged legislators to re-write the legislation in a way that addressed his stated concerns.

As the legendary sage Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over!”  And as Sierra Club ally Nicole Saulsberry more aptly put it, “We haven’t come this far just to say we’ve come this far!”

With the time provided by the veto, NEIS will be going on offense.  We are re-defining this entire vote and process, not merely about the repeal of the moratorium, but as a de facto referendum on Illinois’ energy future:  will it be renewable, as intended in CEJA? Or, will it be nuclear, as envisioned by repeal bill sponsors Sen. Sue Rezin (R-38, Peru) and Rep. Lance Yednock (D-76, Ottawa)?

NEIS will be conducting a tour of central Illinois communities the last week of September to educate the public and officials about the hazards of SMNRs and new nuclear of any kind.  The schedule is currently in formation, and TBA.  We’ll be scheduling meetings with officials by day, and doing presentations by evening.  The latter will include showing the acclaimed documentary, “Atomic Bamboozle: The False Promise of a Nuclear Renaissance,” by filmmaker Jan Haaken, who will join us by ZOOM at some events.

To that end NEIS has developed a petition which we have begun circulating, to be collected and readied for the Fall Veto Session.  Additionally, we have developed an organizational sign-on letter, which we ask organizations to sign demonstrating their support for a renewable energy future, not a nuclear one.  These should be returned to NEIS by October 15th.

The pro-nuclear forces have drawn a line in the sand, forcing the state and environmental community to choose, or be guilty of silent complicity in the consequences.  We quote the ever-elegant Texas firebrand Jim Hightower to make the point: “The only things in the middle of the road are yellow stripes and dead armadillos.”

Time to choose, Illinois!


All the while NEIS has been dealing with the proposed moratorium repeal, we also have been supporting a project which on its surface might not seem connected to safe-energy:  the Great Lakes Peace Tour of the Veterans for Peace sailing ship, the Golden Rule.  In late Spring the ship entered the Great Lakes, making stops at over 20 ports carrying not only the message opposing nuclear weapons and war, but also opposing nuclear power and radioactive waste!

After sailing an estimated 10,000+ miles and making nearly 100 total stops, Chicago will be the final port of call for this amazing peace sail, when the Golden Rule arrives at Montrose Harbor, Chicago, on the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 12.  NEIS and a coalition of several other peace, enviro, and justice groups (Chicago Area Peace Action, Veterans for Peace, World Beyond War, Snake River Alliance, and others as of this writing) will be welcoming them at an outdoor press conference at 11 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 13 (weather permitting; call NEIS morning of to confirm, 773-342-7650), at a park area near where the boat docks.  After that, we will all just hang out with our guests and have a casual picnic in the park near the Harbor.  Feel free to bring a lunch and some (non-alcoholic) beverages to meet these amazing activists.

Additional public events are planned and hosted by the various sponsoring groups involved.  A Calendar of events can be found here and on the NEIS website.

One of the more interesting of these events will be our joining together to march in the International Climate Strike March to End Fossil Fuels, meeting in the Loop, Friday, Sept. 15,  4-6 p.m. Meet at Pritzker Park in downtown Chicago.  Please make plans to march with us on that afternoon!  NEIS will bring banners and “Nuclear Power? No Thanks!” flags to carry.  Bring your own signs if you like.

Our last event with the Golden Rule crew and staff will be a farewell reception taking place on Sunday, Sept. 17, from 6-9 p.m., at the NEIS Conference Room, 3411 W. Diversey, Chicago.  We’ll have food and beverages, and request a $10 per person donation to support the Tour.  Please RSVP by COB, Fri. Sept. 15 at (773)342-7650, or

Let’s send them back home feeling like the peace and safe-energy heroes they really are!  They’ve certainly earned our respect and support.


  • 9/13/23: 12 NOON: Picnic in Park; by Montrose Harbor “Moonrise” area;  CTA-78 bus eastbound to Marine Drive EOL. Walk under DuSable Lake Shore Dr. underpass to dock and nature areas.
  • 9/13/23: 6:00-8:30, Oak Park Library, 834 Lake St, Oak Park, IL 60301.  Near Oak Park CTA Green Line stop.
  • 9/14/23: 7:00-8:30, Lake Street Church talk, 607 Lake St, Evanston, IL 60201.  Northbound CTA Red Line to Howard St., transfer to Evanston Purple Line, exit at Dempster, walk over.
  • 9/15/23: 4:00-6:00, Chicago Global Climate Strike March, meet at Pritzker Park, 310 S. State Street, Chicago.
  • 9/17/23: 11:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m., End the Nuclear Age Peace Gathering @ Henry Moore Sculpture to Nuclear Energy, Univ. of Chicago Campus, 5625 S Ellis Ave, Chicago, IL.  This is where the Nuclear Age began in 1942!  Informal – bring drinks and light food.
  • 9/17/23: 6:00-9:00 p.m., Farewell Golden Rule Reception, NEIS office Conference Room (tentatively!!); 3411 W. Diversey, (Diversey, Kimball and Milwaukee),    (CTA 76, 82, and 56 buses; Logan Square Blue Line “L” stop; 4 blocks south of Kimball Exit on Kennedy X-Pwy).   Speakers, music, ZOOM testimonials, more.  Say “farewell” to this intrepid peace crew!   Pizza and beverages. $10/person SUGGESTED donation (No one turned away; give more if you like).  All profits will go towards the Golden Rule Project.  RSVP BY FRI. 9/16 AT:


Our final message is also one of good news.

Because of the work NEIS has been doing on SMNRs, we have been approached by an anonymous donor who is providing NEIS with a $5,000 matching grant opportunity.  Between now and the end of 2023, NEW members to NEIS, and members making contributions above their annual membership dues will have those funds matched up to $5,000.

We were able to achieve this match in 2022.  We ask you to help us do so again this year.  Details to follow.


We’re very pleased to welcome Bob Croteau of Springfield, IL to the NEIS Board.  Bob served on the NEIS Board previously in “the days before ZOOM, Skype, et al,” which made his continued participation difficult.  Now with many of our meetings being conducted online, and his retirement, Bob is eager to get back and help make Illinois a renewable energy, not nuclear, state.  Welcome back Bob!

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As we wind down summer with a Labor Day celebration, we at NEIS thank you for your support and efforts for safe-energy and a less-nuclear world; and wish you an enjoyable remainder of summer.

Be well, safe travels, keep on doing!