Under the federal Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act of 1980 (Policy Act), each state is responsible, either on its own or in cooperation with other states, for providing the capacity to dispose of the low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) generated within its borders.

The State of Illinois and the Commonwealth of Kentucky joined together in 1984 to create the Central Midwest Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact (Compact) which was ratified by Congress in 1986. Ten compacts involving 42 states have been formed and ratified since the Policy Act was enacted. There are six unaffiliated states in addition to the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Authority for the Compact

The federal Policy Act made the states responsible for providing for the disposal of LLRW generated within their borders. The Policy Act also encouraged states to join together to form regional compacts to manage LLRW on a regional basis and to limit the overall number of disposal facilities developed. The enticement provided to form a compact is that compacts may prohibit the import or export of LLRW into or out of their regions.

Illinois and the Kentucky joined together in 1984 to form the Central Midwest Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact. Congress ratified this compact in 1986. The authorizing statute, known as the Central Midwest Interstate Radioactive Waste Compact Act (Compact Act), in conjunction with the Policy Act establishes the scope and authority of the Compact and the Commission.

Responsibilities of the Commission

The Commission is the body appointed to oversee and implement the Compact. Currently there are three members on the Commission. Two commissioners are from Illinois and one commissioner is from Kentucky. The Commission has numerous responsibilities identified in the Compact Act. The key responsibilities include:

  • preparation of a Regional Management Plan;
  • identification of the need for regional LLRW facilities; and
  • designation of a host state for regional LLRW facilities.

In 1987, the Commission determined that there was a need for a regional LLRW disposal facility and designated Illinois as the host state. The Commission adopted its first Regional Management Plan in 1988.