Nuclear waste: Mississippi's next business opportunity? - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Nuclear waste: Mississippi's next business opportunity?

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The Mississippi Energy Institute gave a presentation to the Senate Economic Development Committee Monday. The Mississippi Energy Institute gave a presentation to the Senate Economic Development Committee Monday.
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

There's a proposal in the works to store and recycle nuclear waste in Mississippi. The Mississippi Energy Institute gave a presentation to the Senate Economic Development Committee Monday.

The energy institute is proposing the state use an above-ground interim storage facility like those being used at Grand Gulf. They say they're not interested in underground sites like the Richton salt domes that prompted fights back in the 1980's.

"This doesn't totally remove the need for permanent disposal, which is what Yucca Mountain is designed for, but it does reduce the volume. So it solves part of the problem for the U.S.," said Patrick Sullivan, Mississippi Energy Institute President.

Opponents have safety and environmental concerns and believe it would be viewed as a nuclear waste dumping site.

"This waste is radioactive for tens of thousands of years. Is there really any solution to this as we know from an engineering standpoint. I think the answer is no," said Louie Miller who serves as State Director for the Sierra Club.

Monday, the energy institute pointed to France as an example of where they are successfully reprocessing.

"This is really putting the cart before the horse here in the sense that reprocessing radioactive waste is illegal in the U.S. right now. So why are we having this discussion now?" Miller said.

The energy institute says there is a competitive push for these potential sites, but Sen. John Horhn says they'll have to overcome the public's initial thoughts when they hear the proposal.

"Folks would perceive this as a waste dumping ground. Even though based on what they have shared with us today, that would not be the case," explained Horhn.

It could be 10 years or more before the proposal becomes a reality

Mississippi Congressman Steven Palazzo (R-MS) released a statement about the possible plans for a storage site in Mississippi:

"Whatever plans are brewing for a possible nuclear waste facility, I think now is the time to send a clear message: no nuclear waste in Mississippi. Not now, not ever.  Nuclear storage wouldn't even be an issue had the Obama Administration not shuttered plans to complete the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository in Nevada. We've already spent $12 billion in taxpayer dollars and nearly two decades of work on the Yucca site, and that should be our focus going forward."

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