JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A nonprofit group tied to energy businesses says Mississippi should consider becoming a storage place for used nuclear fuel.
Representatives of the Mississippi Energy Institute will meet Monday at the state Capitol with the Senate Economic Development Committee. After that, they'll have a closed-door meeting at the Old Capitol Inn with business people and Republican U.S. Reps. Alan Nunnelee and Gregg Harper.
Proponents say that since opponents appear to have blocked federal plans to store the country's nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, Nev., there's an opportunity to bring billions of dollars and create thousands of jobs by storing it in Mississippi. They say that because the federal government has moved slowly in creating centralized storage sites, nuclear plants, such as Entergy's Grand Gulf plant in Port Gibson, Miss., are storing used nuclear fuel in above-ground casks on site.
"When the U.S. decides to have a nuclear power renaissance, tremendous industry will come from that — there will be huge investment and job creation," said Patrick Sullivan, president of the Mississippi Energy Institute. "Whatever the next renaissance in nuclear technologies will be, we believe it will take place adjacent to consolidated storage facilities."
Louie Miller is state director for an environmental group, the Sierra Club. He told The Clarion-Ledger (http://on.thec-l.com/1dcPhdE ) on Friday that the storage proposal is a bad idea. He said there was public backlash over a similar proposal to store nuclear waste in the Richton salt domes in south Mississippi in the 1980s.
"You've got to be kidding me. We went through this fight 30 years ago," Miller said. "Does Mississippi not have a bad enough image problem nationally without becoming a radioactive dump for the U.S. and probably the rest of the world? . I don't care how many jobs it creates, if any. Think of how many it would destroy. This is a bad idea. This is something you don't want in your backyard."