CHICAGO (CBS) — Two Illinois democrats were hoping to help north suburban Zion recover some of the money it has lost since Exelon pulled the plug on a nuclear plant nearly 20 years ago.

U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider said the economic impact of the Zion nuclear power plant’s closure in 1998 is still apparent today.

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“Businesses are struggling because people have moved away. Many of the homes, apartments are owned by landlords that don’t live in this community,” he said.

Schneider and U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth have sponsored the STRANDED (Sensible, Timely Relief for America’s Nuclear Districts’ Economic Development) Act to help communities like Zion pay for storing nuclear waste.

“Locate funds and then tell Zion exactly what federal dollars it qualifies for,” Duckworth said.

The senator said the STRANDED Act would provide Zion with approximately $15 million for economic development.

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Schneider said the legislation also would provide tax credits to new homebuyers in communities storing nuclear waste.

“These are communities that are struggling, but with some help we can put them on the track to recovery,” he said.

Duckworth pointed out the old Zion plant is on the shore of one of the Great Lakes, “which is the largest freshwater drinking supply in the country; not just for the United States, but also for Canada as well, and it is in all of our best interests to get this waste out of here.”

The senator said Energy Secretary Rick Perry was supportive of the idea when he went through confirmation hearings.

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A similar measure introduced in Congress last year failed to go anywhere.