House Bill Would Compensate Zion for Storage of ‘Stranded’ Nuclear Waste

U.S. Rep. Bob Dold, R-Ill., has introduced a bill that would compensate Zion and other communities that have served as storage facilities for nuclear waste. Exelon’s Zion Nuclear Power Station has housed about 1,020 metric tons of used nuclear fuel since it closed in 1998, according to a news release from Dold. In 2002, it was determined the fuel would be moved to the Yucca Mountain storage facility, which has not yet opened.

Dold said Zion is one of 13 communities across the country storing nuclear fuel from a closed power plant. The Stranded Nuclear Waste Accountability Act would compensate Zion more than $15 million annually for seven years, an expiration date Dold said he hopes will push elected officials to find a long-term solution. “We want to compensate these communities while it’s being stored here until we can again move it up to some other site,” Dold said as he discussed the bill with Zion Mayor Al Hill at the Zion Senior Center on Monday.

Hill and representatives from the city’s taxing bodies called on the federal government in March to compensate the community for acting as a nuclear spent-fuel-rod storage facility. Dold said he and his staff then began working with them to formulate the legislation.

Hill said he hopes to use the compensation to keep the city’s tax rate down. The plant’s closure resulted in an immediate loss of about 55 percent of Zion’s tax base, according to Nuclear Energy Information Service.

Currently, the Zion School District 6 tax rate is 21.456 percent, and the Zion School District 3 tax rate is 18.050 percent, according to Zion Township Assessor Larry Wicketts. Both rates are the highest in the county.

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