Sunday, August 25, 2013

Mississippi Energy Institute Wants Nuclear Waste Site In Mississippi

The Mississippi Energy Institute (MEI) is making a pitch to politicians and business leaders that Mississippi get into the used nuclear fuel storage business. 

Although the Center's first choice for such a national nuclear waste repository is Yucca Mountain, we could support the Mississippi proposal if Nevada continues to be successful in blocking the site development and if the site can be proven to be safe.

MEI has presented its plan to the state Senate Economic Development Committee and to business and political leaders in a closed meeting.  Proponents believe that since opponents appear to have shot down federal government plans to store the country’s nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, there’s an opportunity for Mississippi to bring billions of dollars and thousands of jobs. Because the federal government has moved so slowly in creating a centralized storage site, nuclear plants, such as Grand Gulf in Port Gibson, are storing their used nuclear fuel in above-ground casks on site.

Recalling the 1980s Richton salt dome plan, everybody came out against it, Democrat and Republican, including Congressman Trent Lott.

A white paper from the MEI says Mississippi has the opportunity to “structure a consent-based host agreement that delivers significant economic development, employment and security benefits.”  It says in the short term a storage area would see a $500 million site with almost 100 jobs and major highway and transportation upgrades to safely bring in the material.  Then, the report says, a storage area would see mid-term infrastructure and recycling investments of more than $15 billion and creation of more than 18,000 direct jobs during construction and 5,000 jobs for the next 50 years.

In the long term, the report says, “Mississippi’s unique geologic salt domes provide an opportunity for co-located repository facilities, making Mississippi most competitive with the ability to fully manage all materials in one area … estimates for long-term disposal costs are roughly $100 billion over the project life of 100 years.”

The Mississippi Energy Institute is a non-profit institution that seeks to advise and provide insight into energy-related economic development. The Institute’s primary objective is to diversify and improve Mississippi’s economic energy base.   (Clarion Ledger, 8/23/2013, MEI)

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