November 15, 2018

Duckworth Meets with Nominee to Head DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) met with the President’s nominee yesterday to be Assistant Secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Dr. Rita Baranwal. They discussed Duckworth’s Sensible, Timely Relief for America’s Nuclear Districts’ Economic Development (STRANDED) Act, which will help communities like Zion, Illinois, that are struggling with the impacts of stranded nuclear waste by incentivizing economic development through a new grant program and increased federal assistance to homebuyers. A photo of the meeting is available here.

“For far too long, communities have been forced to house nuclear waste without consent or compensation, despite the immeasurable negative impact to their local economies," Duckworth said. “If confirmed, I look forward to working with Dr. Baranwal to ensure nuclear waste is safely stored and that communities with stranded waste in Illinois and across our nation no longer have to deal with its harmful economic impacts.”

Duckworth and U.S. Representative Brad Schneider (IL-10) introduced the STRANDED Act in October of 2017 after visiting Zion, Illinois, where the Zion Nuclear Power Station has housed more than 1,020 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel since the plant’s closure in 1998. The STRANDED Act also aims to find a long-term solution for nuclear waste and establishes a task force to identify the programs that currently exist for these communities and make it easier for them to apply for assistance.

A part of Duckworth’s STRANDED Act was included in the Energy and Water Appropriations report language earlier this year, requiring DOE to provide a report to communities with stranded nuclear waste with a list of existing resources available for economic development.

Duckworth's position on the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources gives her jurisdiction over nuclear energy, and she is committed to using that post to improve areas with stranded nuclear waste.