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Interviews with news makers and discussion of topics important to Southwest Michigan. Subscribe to the podcast through Apple itunes and Google. Segments of interview are heard in WestSouthwest Brief during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

WSW: Congressman Dan Kildee on Nuclear Waste, Iranian Negotiations and More

Carolyn Kaster/AP
The Associated Press

Congressman Dan Kildee says the freedom of innocent Americans shouldn't be connected to nuclear negotiations with Iran. 

The Democrat, who represents Flint and Saginaw in the U.S. House has a special interest in the fate of Amir Hekmati. The Marine from Flint was arrested in Iran in 2011, and had been held there ever since. He was in the country to visit his grandmother at the time. Kildee says he thinks the U.S. Government has "appropriately pushed" the case of Hekmati, and others held in Iran. 

Asked if holding innocent Americans raises questions about Iran's credibility during negotiations designed to prevent the country from having a nuclear weapon, Kildee says the negotiations are not about trust. He says any agreement much include a way to verify that Iran is not moving toward a nuclear weapon. But Kildee says walking away from the negotiating table would likely lead to Iran developing a nuclear weapon and "doesn't make the world safer."

Kildee held events in Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids this week, and came by the studios of WMUK on Monday. Thursday morning, his office announced that a resolution has been introduced calling on Iran to release Hekmati and other Americans being held in Iran. Kildee also discussed other issues. 

Interview with Dan Kildee - web version

Nuclear Storage Facility

Kildee has been very vocal in his opposition to a proposed nuclear waste storage facility than under Lake Huron in Ontario. He says the chances of an accident releasing nuclear waste into the Great Lakes are small, but "not inconsequential." Kildee has introduced a resolution calling on the Canadian government to reconsider the plan. He says there is bi-partisan support for the resolution. Kildee says it also crosses the international border. He has been working with a member of the Canadian Parliament as well.

Asked about the broader issue of nuclear waste, Kildee says storing it on the site of nuclear power plants is not a good long-term solution. He says Yucca Mountain seems like a better place to store waste because of its remote location with no source of water nearby. There has been a long debate over making the location in Nevada a nuclear waste repository. Kildee says the details of transporting the waste safely are important. Kildee says the problems with storing and transporting nuclear waste show the need to develop more renewable sources of energy.


As Governor Rick Snyder continues to hint at a run for President, Kildee says there are very serious questions about his leadership in Michigan. The Democratic Congressman says Snyder's chances of getting the Republican nomination are slim. but Kildee says the governor entering the race could bring more attention to the state. However he downplays the idea that Michigan could be a more competitive state after going for the Democratic candidate for President in every election since 1992. Kildee says he's supporting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for President. 

Gordon Evans became WMUK's Content Director in 2019 after more than 20 years as an anchor, host and reporter. A 1990 graduate of Michigan State, he began work at WMUK in 1996.