The Byron Nuclear Generating Station in Ogle County, Illinois.
Gov. Pat Quinn wants to jack up the fees that power generator Exelon Corp. pays to the state so that emergency management officials have what they need to ensure safety at the state's nuclear power plants.
He said the fees haven't been increased in nearly a decade and he wants state officials to determine whether they need more money to conduct safety inspections of the plants.
"We need to take a look at this. If we have to get even more of a fee to make sure we have the best nuclear safety in the world, so be it," he said.
Quinn said he was troubled by the unfolding events in Japan, where emergency workers have tried to cool an overheated nuclear complex damaged by a deadly earthquake and tsunami.
The governor said he met Wednesday with state emergency management officials to discuss the safety of the state's 11 nuclear power plants.
"I just think now's the time, given this terrible catastrophe, that our state, the leading nuclear state in the union, have a full-scale review of everything,'' Quinn said.
Illinois has more nuclear power plants than any other state in the U.S. and generates about half of its power from nuclear energy. He noted that nuclear plants in Joliet and Dresden shared
similar designs to the overheated Fukushima Dai-chi nuclear complex in Japan.
Exelon spokesman Craig Nesbit said the company's plants "are safe, but we appreciate the governor's concerns about the Japan disaster and we'll be discussing the issue with his administration.''