September 30, 2017

Duckworth, Schneider Announce Federal Legislation to Help Communities with Stranded Nuclear Waste


[ZION, IL] - U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Brad Schneider (IL-10) today joined Zion Mayor Al Hill to announce the Sensible, Timely Relief for America's Nuclear Districts' Economic Development (STRANDED) Act. This new legislation aims to address the impacts of stranded nuclear waste by incentivizing economic development and providing federal assistance for communities like Zion. The Zion Nuclear Power Station that is located on valuable lakefront property has housed more than 1,020 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel since the plant's closure in 1998. A photo taken at the press conference is available here.

"For years communities have been forced to house this waste without consent or compensation, despite the immeasurable 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 will help affected areas around the country that are facing hardship now. Zion can't wait any longer."

"Zion and communities like it have been unfairly saddled with storing our nation's stranded nuclear waste - forced to shoulder the burdens of storage with no compensation in return,"
Schneider said. "The federal government needs to make right by these communities. This bill I'm introducing with Sen. Duckworth would bolster Zion's economic development by finally compensating the city for its storage of the waste, offering tax incentives to encourage private investment and homeownership, and better ensuring access to all available federal resources. Addressing this issue is a matter of basic fairness for the communities paying the price for our government's failure to find a permanent solution for spent nuclear fuel."

The STRANDED Act would establish a task force to identify assets that currently exist for communities with stranded nuclear waste. It would also create economic impact grants that would provide financial assistance to local government entities to offset the economic impacts of stranded nuclear waste.

"It's hard for me to express how much we appreciate the time and effort both Senator Duckworth and Congressman Schneider are devoting to our communities," Zion Mayor Al Hill said. "The existence of radioactive waste, located on our lakefront, places economic and social burdens on the Zion area that we cannot mitigate ourselves. This legislation will have a long term positive economic impact on Zion and all of our neighbors."

"Cities with former nuclear power plants should never have to bear the financial burden of keeping up an abandoned facility," Illinois State Senator Melinda Bush said. "As someone who has fought this battle at the state level for years, I can say firsthand that the City of Zion has incredible allies in Senator Duckworth and Representative Schneider. This legislation could make monumental changes at the federal level."

In addition to the task force and economic impact grants, the new legislation would extend tax credits to include stranded nuclear waste communities to the existing New Markets credit eligibility.

Duckworth's post 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.