Grand Gulf capacity rises to 76 percent

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Output at Grand Gulf Nuclear Station rose to 76 percent of capacity Tuesday, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The unit is returning to full power after a feed-pump trip March 8 halted production of electricity. Entergy Nuclear spokesman Suzanne Anderson said the 1,297-megawatt unit was producing some electricity by late Friday.

It was the first unplanned shutdown of operations at the reactor since 2008.

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Federal regulators are expected to present the findings of Grand Gulf’s 2009 inspection report at a public meeting at Port Gibson City Hall at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

A $574 million upgrade to the plant’s capacity — making it the nation’s largest single nuclear reactor — was approved by the Mississippi Public Service Commission in October. An OK from the NRC is expected by the end of 2011 and major work is set to begin in 2012.

Planning that could lead to a second reactor at the facility, at Entergy’s River Bend Station in St. Francisville, La. or both, were put on hold in 2009 due to cost estimates to build its core. In a filing Tuesday, Entergy’s Louisiana subsidiary, Entergy Louisiana LLC, asked the Louisiana Public Service Commission to come up with a procedural schedule to evaluate costs of developing plant plans, said published reports. Also, the utility has asked the commission to waive monitoring requirements and other prudence reviews on developing the plant until after 2013.