May 02, 2019

Duckworth Advocates for Compensation for Illinois Communities with Nuclear Waste During Senate Hearing


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) discussed the struggles many Illinois communities face with stranded nuclear waste at today’s U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) hearing on the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2019. Duckworth questioned Geoff Fettus from the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Nuclear, Climate and Clean Energy Program today on the importance of developing a grant program to compensate communities like Zion, Illinois, who have been forced to dedicate otherwise valuable property to serve as interim storage sites for nuclear waste. That proposal is part of Duckworth’s Sensible, Timely Relief for America's Nuclear Districts' Economic Development (STRANDED) Act, a portion of which is included in the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2019. Video from today’s hearing is available here.

“Illinois is home to more nuclear reactors than any other state in the nation: 11 operating and three decommissioned,” Duckworth said. “Communities are struggling to deal with decommissioned nuclear power plants that have become de facto interim storage sites for stranded nuclear waste. Without consent or compensation, these communities and plants are paying the price for the federal government’s failure to find a permanent solution for spent nuclear fuel.”

The Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2019 includes a section of Duckworth’s STRANDED Act, creating a stranded nuclear waste task force to help communities with stranded nuclear waste. Duckworth first introduced the STRANDED Act with Congressman Brad Schneider (D-IL-10) in 2017 to create a grants program to incentivize economic development and provide federal assistance to offset the economic impacts of stranded nuclear waste for the dozens of communities that are affected across the country. In Zion, Illinois, a decommissioned nuclear power station has housed more than 1,020 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel on valuable lakefront property since the plant’s closure in 1998, preventing the community from redeveloping the property for other purposes or using it to generate economic development.