October 02, 2017

New Duckworth-Schneider STRANDED Act Would Help Communities with Stranded Nuclear Waste


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Brad Schneider (IL-10) introduced the Sensible, Timely Relief for America's Nuclear Districts' Economic Development (STRANDED) Act today to help communities struggling with the impacts of stranded nuclear waste. Their bicameral legislation would create grants 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 - and the dozens more that will be stranded over the coming years. Specifically, the legislation would provide 15 dollars for each kilogram of nuclear waste, revive an expired tax credit for first-time homebuyers purchasing a home in a community with stranded waste and include stranded nuclear waste communities to the existing New Markets credit eligibility.

Duckworth and Schneider announced their new legislation this weekend in Zion, Illinois, 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 in 1998. A photo taken at the announcement 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. Communities like 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."

In addition to encouraging economic development and providing financial support, the STRANDED Act would establish a task force to identify the programs that currently exist for communities with stranded nuclear waste, simplifying the process and making it easier for communities applying for government assistance. The bill would also help identify a long-term solution for nuclear waste by directing the Department of Energy to examine other options for hosting decommissioned nuclear waste and to determine if secure sites that house decommissioned nuclear waste can be used for other purposes like hosting secure servers as well.

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.