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Zion community keen to get rid of its stranded nuclear wastes

Zion’s effort to shed lakefront nuclear waste backed by U.S. House vote, Chicago Tribune,    Frank Abderholden  Contact Reporter, News-Sun , 10 May 18 

A bill on nuclear waste policy that would restart the Yucca Mountain depository in Nevada was approved by the the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday, including an amendment introduced by U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider that also calls for a task force to be created to help communities like Zion that have stranded nuclear waste.

The 10th District Democrat said the amendment requires the secretary of energy to assemble a stranded nuclear waste task force that would identify existing resources and funding opportunities throughout the federal government to assist communities in the decommissioning process.

“For too long, communities like Zion have been saddled with housing our nation’s stranded nuclear waste while the federal government has failed to meet its legal obligation to find a permanent repository,” Schneider said in a statement following Thursday morning’s vote on Capitol Hill.

His amendment calls for the Department of Energy to complete the study in 180 days and report back to Congress with its findings.

“The project will be physically completed with (deactivation and decommissioning) in 2018,” Walker said last year. Although the federal government designated decades ago that the waste would go to Yucca Mountain in Nevada for permanent storage, the facility has not yet opened, and Zion is stuck with the waste until a solution can be found.

“I am very pleased this amendment passed the House, appreciate the bipartisan support from my colleagues and urge the Senate to take up this matter urgently,” Schneider said.

H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2018, was described by Schneider as “an important step forward,” but he added that more needs to be done for communities forced to store nuclear waste.

“I will continue to work with Mayor Al Hill, the city of Zion and my colleagues in Congress to get communities shouldering this burden the federal help they are owed,” Schneider said.

He added that the spent fuel stored in dry casks along the lakefront — an amount estimated last year at 1,025 metric tons — presents both “an extreme environmental hazard, and a severe burden on the quality of life of the residents of Zion — deterring economic investment, depressing home values and driving up property taxes to fill the local revenue void.”

……… “We just want them to get (the waste) out of here,” Hill said. “We are pleased with any program that will give us an opportunity to get the spent fuel rods out of our community.”

Adding that “we are pushing a large stone up a steep hill,” Hill said he believes “the federal government has not lived up to its contract with the utilities” on having a place to put the spent fuel rods.

“We lived up to our end of the contract,” he said.

While the power plant operated, ratepayers paid into a trust fund set up for the plant’s decommissioning. The $820 million fund was turned over to EnergySolutions when it took over the work in Zion following the plant’s 1998 deactivation. At the end of the project, any remaining funds are designed to be turned back over to Exelon.

According to the Associated Press, the House voted 340-72 Thursday morning to revive the mothballed nuclear waste dump at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain despite opposition from home-state lawmakers……



May 12, 2018 - Posted by | USA, wastes

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