Jobs, funds make nuclear waste enticing

Mississippi State NewsBy Bobby Harrison
Daily Journal Jackson Bureau

JACKSON – Communities in Mississippi have expressed a preliminary interest in storing nuclear waste on an interim basis and reprocessing it, members of the Senate Economic Development Committee were told Monday.

“You are talking about thousands of jobs, billions of dollars of investment. We want to have a conversation,” Jason Dean, a private consultant representing the Mississippi Energy Institute, said of the proposal.

The issue of disposing of the nuclear waste generated by the nation’s power plants has been an ongoing dilemma. At one point in the 1980s, the salt dome near Richton in southeast Mississippi was viewed as a prime location to permanently store the radioactive waste.

But Dean and Patrick Sullivan, the director of the Energy Institute, said now there is a belief that because of a change in attitude on the federal level and technological advances that instead of permanently storing all nuclear waste in geological formations there might be an opportunity to reprocess it and use it in other nuclear power plants or even for medical purposes.

While current federal law does not allow for reprocessing, Dean said the Energy Institute wants Mississippi to have the option to vie for an interim storage/reprocessing center if the U.S. Congress changes the law.

A study by the Energy Institute said such a process could generate average employment of about 4,000 jobs and peak employment during about eight years of construction of more than 15,000 jobs.
Dean conceded it could be years – if ever – before the federal law allows such a process to occur. Dean also said under current federal law the Yucca Mountain in Nevada has been designated as the permanent repository for the nuclear waste.

But the Obama administration has balked at moving forward with the site, which was selected in 1987. Currently, with no permanent site for storage, Dean said 70,000 metric tons of nuclear waste are being stored above ground across the nation, including at the Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Plant in southwest Mississippi.

With the Obama administration balking at the Nevada site, many fear the salt domes in Richton might again be under consideration with the backing of the state’s Energy Institute. Sullivan said while his group did a study looking at the possibility of geological storage in Mississippi, the proposal he wants to discuss with Mississippi leaders is the possibility of an interim storage/reprocessing plant in the state.

He said he has discussed the possibility with several community leaders who, while not embracing the idea, did not reject it.

But Stan Flynt, a Jackson lobbyist who worked against making the salt domes the permanent location in the 1980s, said reprocessing technology “is extremely unsafe and unclear.”
Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley questioned the wisdom of Mississippi offering to store nuclear waste from across the nation.

“This will absolutely kill tourism in Mississippi,” he said. “I don’t want to see Mississippi become the nation’s repository for nuclear waste. It is a shame we have to spend time talking about this.”
Senate Economic Development Chairman John Horhn, D-Jackson, said the purpose of his meeting was to glean information so members would be knowledgeable on the issue if changes did occur on the federal level. He said he had not formed a position on the issue.

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  • Yeahuhuh

    Of course we know they are working Mississippi for the same reason the out-of-state Personhood Movement did — they think we are goofy enough to go for it.

    What is amazing — for those sharp enough to see what industrial lobbyists can do with a Republican legislature — is how few people making money and passing it out it takes to push an industry through. All you have to do is get Mississippi government involved to give away a site or infrastructure, and some tax relief, and voila, it happened. Its looking more and more like the only way our current government has to get ahead is to give something away, and hope when its time to tax individuals who might end up working there, they can make it up.

  • williambova

    I imagine this gentleman would form an opinion very quickly if they decided to dump it next door to his house and property!!!

    Senate Economic Development Chairman John Horhn, D-Jackson, said the
    purpose of his meeting was to glean information so members would be
    knowledgeable on the issue if changes did occur on the federal level. He
    said he had not formed a position on the issue.

  • guest

    No person in their right mind would be willing to allow nuclear waste to be stored near them. Reprocessing and interim storage are just plain smoke and mirrors. They are looking for a place to dump their waste and they are looking for a few people to buy off and sell out Mississippi.

    Once the waste gets here it is not leaving … except maybe through our water and soil.

  • DownGoesBrown

    I’ll wager that for a campaign contribution I could lobby the current leadership to change the state song to Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive.” Because a terrible band goes hand in hand with this terrible idea of storing nuclear waste here.

  • Old Grower

    Nuclear Waste Enticing? Isn’t that some type of oxymoron? How much enticing would you need to sell out the health and safety of this and future generations based on “MIGHTS” and “IFS”?

  • Pingback: Mississippi should nuke its economic development strategy |()

  • 1941641


    Nuclear Power, a great scientific achievement of our times but marred with scientific problems/doubt that have not yet been resolved.

    Are the Mississippi Salt Domes guaranteed to be earthquake proof until the END TIME? Or, is that question irrelevant with dreams of $Billions in investment sugar plums floating around the state for the taking?

    And these goodies possibly on the way now, then followed later on with the chances of a total catastrophe occurring each and every day Mississippi opens up with the sunlight and closes down with the darkness.

    Murphy’s Law is no consolation in this case for worried minds since it merely says: “if it can happen it will happen. Someone once said: ” Never say never!

    So much for that.

    News Flash Jackson MS!:

    A truck-convoy loaded with nuclear waste material from out-of-state has overturned in a chain-reaction pile-up approximately 4 miles southeast of Columbus Mississippi. All areas within a 25 mile radius of the spill are presently being evacuated under emergency conditions. Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi has called out the Mississippi National Guard to assist in the accident. Stay tuned for updates on this developing news story!

    We are back now with the latest update on this spill in the Columbus MS area. I see Gov. Bryant has just arrived in a MSNG helicopter! Hey, Gov. Bryant, sir, what is your take on this terrible event? Would you please speak to our viewers throughout Mississippi and the US? Yes, I will ,Frank, be glad to. ERR! DUHH! DANG IT!! I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER, FRANK!!!

  • Thile

    When there was talk about converting the salt domes to a strategic oil repository, it was all about jobs, jobs, jobs. The reality of it was there would be several hundred temporary jobs in constructing the pipelines, but after that, the terminal in the port of Pascagoula would only end up creating 11 permanent jobs. Even 1000 times that number of jobs would not be justification for the permanent damage to the environment.