Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

American town dreading the prospect of becoming known as the nuclear waste town

When businesses are considering locating in Zion or making real estate investments, the nuclear waste presents a negative perception of our community,” Hill said. “Plans call for the development of the lakefront, and we are unable to attract investments to that..”

“I speak for all the citizens of Zion when I say we do not want to be a storage facility for radioactive waste.”

Failures of Congress Keep Nuclear Waste Scattered Across the US, Government’s liability is $34 billion and growing as communities wait and wait some more,  Roll Call , Jeremy Dillon 15 Oct 18, In Zion, Illinois, 257 acres of prime lakefront property about 40 miles northwest of Chicago should be at the center of a redevelopment plan to revive a struggling community caught in the aftermath of a closed nuclear plant, says its mayor, Al Hill.  But after decades of federal inaction on a comprehensive strategy to move the nation’s high-level radioactive waste from some 121 sites across the country, Zion and its local officials are coming to the same stark realization as many other communities with shuttered or aging plants: The federal government’s foot-dragging on nuclear waste policy may seem as long as the radioactive materials’ 10,000-year half-life.

Some 64 so-called dry cask storage units containing 2.2 million pounds of deadly spent nuclear fuel rods are stored on the site of what was the Zion Nuclear Power Station, the remnants from generating nuclear power since 1974. And they’ve left Zion in a kind of purgatory, unable to move on from its nuclear past even as it must shoulder the public safety and health risks from the inability of Congress and multiple administrations to decide how to dispose of the radioactive waste.

“When businesses are considering locating in Zion or making real estate investments, the nuclear waste presents a negative perception of our community,” Hill said. “Plans call for the development of the lakefront, and we are unable to attract investments to that, to what should be the most valuable waterfront land along Lake Michigan.”

……..Recognition of the growing legacy of nuclear waste is hitting members of Congress — especially those from states and districts where it awaits a federal disposal plan.

Six plants around the country have been shuttered since 2013, with eight more planned over the next decade, according to Beyond Nuclear, an anti-nuclear environmental group. A growing coalition of lawmakers is trying to advance some strategy, be it financial compensation or actually moving the nuclear waste.

Growing liabilities

“Zion is the poster child for what some of these communities can look forward to,” said Illinois Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider. “Here we are 20 years later, spent fuel is still on the shore, 100 yards from Lake Michigan and still having an economic impact on the community, and there’s no end in sight.”

Flanked by Hill and Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth in the shadows of the storage canisters holding Zion’s waste, Schneider introduced legislation a year ago that would provide grants and tax credits to compensate communities for the negative economic effects of storing nuclear waste.

The bill is unlikely to become law this Congress, but one of its provisions — directing the Energy Department with other agencies to study the public and private financial resources available to communities storing nuclear waste on-site during decommissioning — made it into the Energy-Water title of the $147.5 billion fiscal 2019 spending package passed last month.

However, the same spending bill continued a nearly decade-long impasse over a failure to appropriate funds for the Department of Energy’s nuclear waste management responsibilities. That means the federal government is unlikely to make any progress on the problem in the coming year, despite the increased congressional interest in the issue as more plants enter into the decommissioning phase.

The inaction comes with a consequence.

More than 80,000 metric tons of high-level nuclear waste are stored at nuclear reactor sites in more than 35 states. The longer the waste sits, the more the government will be forced to compensate nuclear power producers for its inaction.

Estimates place the government’s liability from nuclear waste at $34 billion and growing, a number that doesn’t include the effects on the communities unable to reuse the land.

That liability stems from the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, which said the federal government would take responsibility for disposing of the waste in a nuclear repository. A 1987 update to that law dedicated the controversial Yucca Mountain site in Nevada as the location for that facility, despite protests from state and local officials in Nevada……………

“That was not part of the deal,” Hill said. “I speak for all the citizens of Zion when I say we do not want to be a storage facility for radioactive waste.” https://www.rollcall.com/news/policy/failures-congress-nuclear-waste-scattered

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October 20, 2018 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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