(CBS) — The city of Zion says it needs to be compensated for being a storage facility for spent nuclear fuel rods and it’s trying a new approach to get federal attention.

The Zion nuclear plant hasn’t operated since 1998 and what’s left is hundreds of acres of lakefront land and nuclear waste.

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“There was never an understanding that once the plant closed the Zion community would host a radioactive dump. That was not part of the deal,” said Zion Mayor Al Hill. “We are asking for compensation for hosting this dump… All this was supposed to go to Yucca Mountain. And our feeling is, either you get it out of here or you compensate us for it.”

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Funding for Yucca Mountain was cut off in 2011.

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Mayor Hill says the various taxing bodies of Zion are getting together to make a push for federal money because he says they haven’t gotten anywhere on their own – individually contacting elected federal representatives.