NRC finds Grand Gulf is safe

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 12, 2002

[04/12/02]PORT GIBSON The Grand Gulf Nuclear Station got another thumbs-up for safe operations, representatives of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said here Thursday.

The commission continually monitors the state’s only nuclear-fueled electrical plant using resident inspectors. The reporting period for the plant, owned and operated by Entergy Nuclear, covers the last nine months of 2001.

The commission assigns a color from lowest to highest safety significance, green, white, yellow or red to each of its inspection findings. Grand Gulf was in the green range in all areas from April 1 through Dec. 31, 2001, the NRC found.

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“All findings were of low significance,” NRC project branch chief David N. Graves told the 10 or so people in the meeting audience in the Claiborne County Emergency Operations Center. The positive report for Grand Gulf means that it requires no more than the “baseline inspection program” for 2002, he said.

“We’re pleased with the NRC’s assessment of our performance,” Grand Gulf general manager Brad Edwards said. “We are committed to operating these units with safety as the absolute No. 1 priority.”

About security at the power plant since Sept. 11, Graves said, “Structurally, nuclear power plants are some of the strongest individual facilities in the country.” And any decrease in recent months in the visibility of the most recognizable signs of security, such as National Guard troops, around the power plant is no indication that security is lower, power plant spokesman Dakin McKay said.

The last time an NRC-monitored aspect of Grand Gulf’s performance went above green on the significance scale was in 1999 when a diesel generator to a backup power system had a problem that registered as a “performance indicator” of white, Graves said.