Patrick Sullivan, director of the private-sector Mississippi Energy Institute, and Jason Dean, a lobbyist and former education assistant to former Gov. Haley Barbour, have been shopping the idea that jobs will run to Mississippi if the state opens itself to nuclear waste storage and reprocessing of nuclear waste. Gov. Bryant apparently has become a supporter and criticized voices in opposition, like U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo, the 4th District Republican.
As columnist Charlie Mitchell noted last week, Mississippi already has some stored nuclear waste, at Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant in Claiborne County on the Mississippi River. Alabama and Tennessee also have similar storage of nuclear waste, also from power plants.
The waste is stored at the plants because there’s no other place to take it. Yucca Mountain in Nevada, the only high-profile nuclear storage site in the United States, is apparently on the way out because Nevada’s senior U.S. senator, Majority Leader Harry Reid, wants it gone, as do the people who run Las Vegas, which is less than 100 miles from Yucca Mountain.
Nuclear waste is not just a long-term environmental and quality of life issue; it is also a control and safety issue for a virtual eternity — hundreds of thousands of years.