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Congressman Joe Courtney

Representing the 2nd District of Connecticut

Courtney Announces New Bill To Aid Municipalities Like Haddam With 'Stranded Nuclear Waste'

July 11, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) announced that he has jointly introduced a bipartisan bill with Representatives Bob Dold (R-IL), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Reid Ribble (R-WI) to help community’s struggling with the costs of storing so-called ‘stranded nuclear waste’. The Stranded Nuclear Waste Accountability Act of 2016 - which was introduced last week - will provide payments to local communities to cover the losses associated with storing nuclear waste at retired nuclear sites until a new national facility can be opened. Haddam, Connecticut in Courtney’s district – the former home of the Connecticut Yankee nuclear power plant - is one of thirteen communities nationwide currently forced to store spent fuel and high level radioactive waste locally.

“We cannot allow small communities and municipalities across this country to fall into financial distress because of congressional gridlock which is holding up the establishment of a federal nuclear waste storage facility,” said Courtney. “Our bill will compensate local communities that have become de facto interim storage locations for toxic nuclear waste until a centralized storage location can be opened. This bill is an acknowledgement that communities like Haddam deserve restitution for storing spent nuclear fuel long after the federal government committed to taking on the burden.“

“Because of the government’s failure to move ahead with a long-term storage facility for nuclear waste, communities all across the country are being forced to store nuclear waste, even long after their power plants have closed,” said Dold. “As the representative for Zion, Ill., I know all too well the devastating impact that this situation has on our communities.  This bipartisan bill will help revitalizing our local economies by compensating communities for storing nuclear waste until a more permanent solution is finally implemented.

The Stranded Nuclear Waste Accountability Act will allow communities that have become de facto interim storage sites to receive compensation from the Nuclear Waste General Fund at a rate of $15/kilogram of spent nuclear fuel. This is the same rate that would be provided to a community that agreed to be interim storage site under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1983. However, no such storage site was ever designated by the Department of Energy. This funding will provide the thirteen communities housing stranded nuclear fuel nationwide a much-needed economic injection. Haddam, Connecticut—home of the decommissioned Connecticut Yankee nuclear power plant—is one such community that would benefit from this legislation. Five acres of land in the town continues to operate under a Nuclear Regulatory Commission license storing 413.5 metric tons (43 dry storage casks) of spent fuel and high level radioactive waste.

For a breakdown of the thirteen local communities storing nuclear waste on an interim basis, click here

For photographs of the former Haddam, Connecticut nuclear site, click here