In what she describes as an effort to ensure protections for residents and the environment from residual radioactivity, state Rep. Joyce Mason, D-Gurnee, has introduced legislation to require biannual reports on nuclear power plants going through decommissioning.
Mason, whose district includes the former nuclear reactor facility in Zion that is currently being decommissioned, is sponsoring a bill that would require the Illinois Commerce Commission to provide a biannual report to the Illinois General Assembly on the issue.
“As a state representative whose district contains a decommissioning nuclear power plant, it is especially important for me to take extra precautions for the safety of my constituents,” Mason said in a statement released Friday.
“The process of decommissioning nuclear power plants can be complex and complicated, and requiring biannual reports is one more way for us as legislators to make sure that our communities are protected,” Mason added.
Prior to the permanent closing of a nuclear power plant, it must undergo a decommissioning process to reduce residual radioactivity, including dismantling equipment, removing radioactive materials and appropriately storing nuclear fuel.
While the process is largely regulated at the federal level, Mason said the Illinois Commerce Commission is involved as well.
The overall process is currently regulated by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, but Illinois is part of an Agreement State Program, in which states sign formal agreements to assume regulatory responsibility, Mason added.
House Bill 840 will require the Illinois Commerce Commission, which aims to balance the interests of consumers and utilities, to collect information on the decommissioning of nuclear power plants in Illinois and submit a biannual report to the General Assembly to help ensure safe practices and reduce the risk of residual radioactivity for workers and the surrounding communities.
“The health and well-being of my constituents is one of my top priorities, and I am confident that this measure will help keep Illinois residents and our environment safe,” Mason said in her release on the bill. “By receiving and reading reports on the shutdown of nuclear power plants in Illinois, we can take extra care to make sure that radioactive materials and equipment are dismantled, disposed of and stored in a way that is safe for all of us.”
Utah-based EnergySolutions was chosen to oversee deconstructing and demolishing the former Zion nuclear power plant and its 20-story containment silos.
Mark Walker, a vice president with EnergySolutions, said last fall that the demolition of a nuclear power plant is “a very controlled and managed process” that may take “many years to complete.”
According to a timeline posted by the company at its project website, www.zionsolutionscompany.com, cleanup of the lakefront site began in 2010 and is scheduled for completion in 2020.
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January 27, 2019 at 07:18AM