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Former Miss. Gov. Barbour Supports Kemper Plant, Open to Nuclear Talks

RIDGELAND, Miss.–Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour spoke Tuesday in Madison County about energy in the state and how it relates to the economy.

He talked on two pressing topics in the Kemper County Coal Plant that has already raised some issues because of rate hikes for some 600,000 Mississippians and the possibility of a nuclear waste recycling facility in the state.

“While some started with the Sierra Club to try to stop the  Kemper County Coal facility, I supported it,” said Barbour. “And I still think it’s very much so still a positive for Mississippi, for the country, and for the environment.”

He did agree the project has been extremely expensive, but stated that anytime a facility of it’s nature that runs 24/7/365 it’s always expensive.

“You’re talking about a 22-percent rate increase, total, for the Kemper facility,” he said.

Barbour pointed out that increase has been seen before and also called out one of the media outlets in Mississippi.

“Remember, the total Kemper rate increase is between 22 and 24 percent,” he said. “And Entergy, because of gas prices going up had to raise their rates 23-percent last year and I don’t remember the Clarion-Ledger going on a jihad about it.”

As for the possible nuclear recycling facility coming into the state he said he was open to the thought.

“I am glad that it is being discussed that we should look at whether Miss. wants to compete for storing and reprocessing nuclear energy, we already store nuclear energy here,” he said. “We’ve stored it for 20 years right at Grand Gulf.”

He is referring to the Grand Gulf Nuclear Generating Plant near Port Gibson and noted the people there love the plant.

“They’ll tell you they want another nuclear power plant right next to the other one, because they know the risk is virtually zero.”

Barbour noted that the state needs to make sure it has the right geology, logistic possibilities, and right facilities for such a plant before pursuing the issue, but said it’s going to be a huge economic uptick for whoever lands such a facility.

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