June 26, 2019

Duckworth, Collins Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Invest in Communities with Stranded Nuclear Waste

STRANDED Act would provide compensation for communities burdened with storing stranded nuclear waste


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Susan Collins (R-ME) today introduced the Sensible, Timely Relief for America’s Nuclear Districts’ Economic Development (STRANDED) Act 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 Senators’ bipartisan legislation would award economic impact grants to local government entities to offset the economic impacts of stranded nuclear waste, establish a task force to identify existing funding that could benefit these communities and create a competitive grant program to help these communities find alternatives to nuclear facilities, generating sites and waste sites. Under their legislation, affected communities would be eligible for $15 per kilogram of spent nuclear fuel stored, which is consistent with the rate for impact assistance established under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982.

“Communities like Zion have been forced to house this waste without consent or compensation for decades, 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, the STRANDED Act focuses on helping affected areas around the country that are currently facing hardship. Zion can’t wait any longer.”

“Communities across the nation that continue to store spent nuclear fuel are unfairly burdened with the direct and indirect costs of storage,” Collins said. “The STRANDED Act would help these communities, including the town of Wiscasset, Maine, which is home to the decommissioned Maine Yankee, by establishing a grant program to support economic development and create jobs. While the federal government must also move forward with a permanent solution for nuclear waste as required by law, our legislation will take interim steps to assist these adversely impacted communities.”

Zion, Illinois, a community where 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 would be eligible for a payment of $15,291,000 under the STRANDED Act to help offset the economic impact of stranded nuclear waste.

Duckworth first introduced the STRANDED Act with U.S. Representative Brad Schneider (IL-10) in October of 2017 after visiting Zion, Illinois. In November of 2018, Duckworth discussed the importance of the STRANDED Act in her meeting with Rita Baranwal, who was recently confirmed to be the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Duckworth also highlighted the need for compensation for communities dealing with stranded nuclear waste in May of 2019 during a U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) hearing.