Zion-Benton Times - Community News - Your Life

Stranded Nuclear Waste Act Signed Into Law


September 28, 2018

Gibbie Buchholtz

Mayor All Hill Discusses Nuclear Waste Ad

On Friday, September 21, 2018, the STRANDED Act for nuclear waste home sites, presented by Representative Brad Schneider of Illinois to help communities with nuclear waste receive federal resources, was signed into law by President Trump as part of H.R. 5895, the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act of 2019.

During a Legislative Brunch held September 15, 2018 in Zion, Schneider presented details about the bill and how it may help the Zion community. He cited that the bill had three components. The first would be direct compensation to the City of Zion and other taxing bodies to the tune of about $15 million. The second is that home owners may receive an $8,000 credit, and the third component provides for other assistance like access to other forms of government aid and there may be benefits to area businesses that will encourage economic development.

"The president has signed the appropriations bill," says Mayor of Zion Al Hill. "I want to caution everybody that this is one small part of the package. This is the part of the package that would allow the government to spend some money to conduct a study on what programs are out there that would help communities like ours that have stranded nuclear waste in their boundaries".

The measure requires a report by the Department of Energy on existing public and private resources and funding available for municipalities where a nuclear power plant is decommissioned, in the process of decommissioning, or plans to shut down within 3 years.

"Communities like Zion have been saddled with storing our nation's stranded nuclear waste while the federal government has failed to meet its legal obligation to find a permanent repository," said Schneider. "They deserve compensation, and this new report is a step toward connecting these communities with critically needed federal assistance. I will continue to work to build on this progress by advancing the STRANDED Act to finally compensate communities like Zion what they deserve."

"I greatly appreciate the leadership of my colleagues Nita Lowey and Marcy Kaptur championing this cause on the Appropriations Committee, and ensuring this language to help communities with stranded nuclear waste was included," continued Schneider.

In May 2018, Schneider introduced a similar amendment requiring the Secretary of Energy to assemble a task force to work across all federal agencies to identify existing resources and funding opportunities that could assist communities with decommissioned plants where nuclear waste is being stored, which was included in H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2018 and also passed the House.

In October 2017, Schneider introduced H.R. 3970 Sensible, Timely Relief for America's Nuclear Districts' Economic Development (STRANDED) Act with Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). In addition to a task force, the bill would compensate communities storing waste through economic impact grants and would establish tax credits to encourage development and homeownership in affected communities.

Legislative Language:

Nuclear Power Plant Closings.--Prior to the opening of a permanent repository or monitored retrievable storage for spent nuclear fuel, power plant sites serve as de facto storage facilities for this nuclear waste. When a plant closes, onsite storage of spent nuclear fuel can be a factor affecting redevelopment of the location. The Department is directed to submit to the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress no later than 180 days after the enactment of this Act a study on existing public and private resources and funding for which municipalities where a nuclear power plant is decommissioned, in the process of decommissioning, or plans to shut down within 3 years of enactment of this Act and contains nuclear waste within its boundaries may be eligible.


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