ROWE — Yankee Rowe Nuclear Power Station shut down in 1992, and was demolished and decommissioned by 2007, but the fenced and isolated site on the upper Deerfield River still hosts 127 tons of spent fuel and high-level radioactive waste in 16 concrete casks under 24-hour security.
The tiny town of Rowe is one of about a dozen communities nationwide affected by the presence of nuclear waste, but no longer benefiting economically from the presence of a functioning reactor.
The “Interim Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Compensation Act” would seek up to $100 million for 13 towns ranging from Zion, Illinois to Wiscasset, Maine.
“The federal government is obligated to provide mitigation costs to communities such as Rowe, considering that the Department of Energy failed to remove the waste as promised,” said Neal, a Democrat.
It was never the intention of the federal government for small towns such as Rowe to host spent fuel rods forever.
The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 directed the U.S. Department of Energy to take ownership of the nation’s nuclear waste. The plan was to build a repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, but the facility was never built. Capping decades of gridlock, the Obama administration withdrew support for the plan in 2011.
Various nuclear plant owners, who over the years paid into a Department of Energy Fund to handle their waste, repeatedly sued the government over the broken promise, and dozens of settlements to date have cost taxpayers a combined $4 billion.