April 21, 2021

Duckworth, Schneider & Colleagues Renew Bipartisan Push to Aid Nuclear-Affected Communities


As states and municipalities face unprecedented financial strain during the pandemic, STRANDED Act would help ensure nuclear-affected communities are not left behind

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), co-chair and co-founder of the U.S. Senate’s first-ever Environmental Justice Caucus, today reintroduced bipartisan legislation to address the impacts of stranded nuclear waste by providing federal assistance to communities around the country that are burdened with storing this waste. The Sensible, Timely Relief for America’s Nuclear Districts’ Economic Development (STRANDED) Act would allocate $175 million annually for five years in a federal noncompetitive grant program to compensate communities like Zion, Illinois, that have served as de facto interim nuclear storage sites for decades and have long faced financial strain as a result. It would also direct the Secretary of Energy to issue an annual report to Congress on the progress and effectiveness of the federal aid allocations. Congressman Brad Schneider (D-IL-10) is expected to introduce similar legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives in the coming weeks.

“For years, communities have been forced to house this waste without consent or compensation, despite the significant negative impact to their local economies,” Duckworth said. “Since the federal government has failed to open a permanent repository and it could take years to move the waste after one is agreed upon, our bipartisan STRANDED Act will help affected areas around the country that are facing hardship now. Communities like Zion can't wait any longer.”

“The U.S. has long had an obligation to safely handle the long-term storage of the spent nuclear fuel that powered our country. We cannot let this heavy burden fall unfairly on communities like Zion, which have been left stranded with the responsibility of storing spent nuclear fuel and the consequent devastating economic impact,” said Congressman Schneider. “I want to thank Senator Duckworth for her work on this issue and all things Illinois in the Senate. Our legislation is an important first step for nuclear-affected communities striving to move past the legacy of their decommissioned plants, boost their local economies and create a brighter future for their residents. I look forward to introducing our House companion bill soon.”

The STRANDED Act would provide resources for the federal government to plan for the future of these sites around the country, including establishing a Stranded Nuclear Waste Task Force within the federal government and an Innovation Solutions Prize to support private-sector research. This follows on efforts by Duckworth and Schneider to help communities with stranded nuclear waste identify available federal resources that was included in appropriations language and signed into law in September 2018. In 2017, Duckworth and Schneider introduced the STRANDED Act, and reintroduced the bill in 2019. Last year, Duckworth and Schneider called on Congressional leadership to include this legislation in federal COVID-19 relief to assist nuclear-affected communities.

U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Angus King (I-ME), Ed Markey (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are cosponsors of the bipartisan STRANDED Act.