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July 09, 2019

Bipartisan Bill to Help Communities Like Wiscasset with Stranded Nuclear Waste Introduced in the Senate

Under the legislation, Wiscasset would receive grant funding to offset economic burden of storing spent nuclear fuel

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced the Sensible, Timely Relief for America’s Nuclear Districts’ Economic Development (STRANDED) Act.  The legislation would address the impacts of stranded nuclear waste by providing federal assistance to communities around the country that are burdened with storing this spent fuel.  Senators Angus King (I-ME), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are original cosponsors of the bill.

The STRANDED Act has received support from the Town of Wiscasset, where the Board of Selectmen passed a resolution last year calling for passage of the bill. 

“Communities across the nation that continue to store spent nuclear fuel are unfairly burdened with the direct and indirect costs of storage,” said Senator Collins. “The STRANDED Act would help these communities, including the town of Wiscasset, Maine, which is home to the decommissioned Maine Yankee, by establishing a grant program to support economic development and create jobs. While the federal government must also move forward with a permanent solution for nuclear waste as required by law, our legislation will take interim steps to assist these adversely impacted communities.”

“For more than two decades, the people of Wiscasset have been stuck dealing with nuclear waste that the federal government has failed to remove from Maine Yankee,” said Senator King, member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. “As we continue to press the Department of Energy to live up to its legal responsibility, we should also take steps to support communities like Wiscasset as they continue to face the costs associated with this stranded nuclear waste. This shouldn’t be their burden to face alone.”

The Senators’ bipartisan legislation would award economic impact grants to local government entities to offset the economic impacts of stranded nuclear waste, establish a task force to identify existing funding that could benefit these communities, and create a competitive innovative solutions prize competition to help these communities find alternatives to nuclear facilities, generating sites, and waste sites. Under their legislation, affected communities would be eligible for $15 per kilogram of spent nuclear fuel stored, which is consistent with the rate for impact assistance established under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982

Maine Yankee permanently shut down in 1997.  Under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act and a contract with the Department of Energy, this waste was required to be removed by January 1998.  Despite this policy, more than 60 canisters of nuclear waste are still located at the Maine Yankee site in 2019. 

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