Nuclear Regulatory Commission renews Alcorn grant|[06/18/08]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Rep. Bennie ThompsonA grant awarded to Alcorn State University from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been extended for another year, U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson has announced.

This year, the NRC has kicked in $128,000 to enable Alcorn to continue the program, said a statement from the Washington office of Thompson, a Democrat who represents Mississippi’s second district, which includes Jefferson County. The approximately 2,700-student Alcorn is located at Lorman in Jefferson County. Alcorn classes are also offered at Hinds Community College’s Vicksburg campus.

Last year, a $200,000 grant facilitated the start-up costs for the school’s applied science degree in radiation safety education, training and technology.

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The grant, known as the Nuclear Education Program, exists to support courses, studies, training, curricula and disciplines pertaining to nuclear safety, nuclear security or nuclear environmental protection.

The project represents a collaboration among Alcorn, Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Station, located in Claiborne County off U.S. 61 South, and surrounding school systems.

Grand Gulf is in the seventh year of a 15-year-process to add a second reactor to the site; it would be the first new reactor in the United States in more than a decade.

The NRC is considering approval of Entergy Nuclear’s license application for the reactor and will hold public hearings at noon and 6 p.m. Thursday at Port Gibson City Hall.

Alcorn is about 12 miles from Grand Gulf and 80 miles from Louisiana’s Riverbend Nuclear Station, located in St. Francisville.

A representative from Alcorn did not return calls seeking comment.