Entergy Mississippi Announces Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant Upgrade Plans

Investment will produce savings for customers

 - By Stephen Heiser -

To help meet Mississippi’s growing energy needs and stabilize rising electricity costs, Entergy Mississippi, Inc. has announced that the Mississippi Public Service Commission approved plans for a major upgrade to the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station in Port Gibson, Mississippi (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF46ez1xj2U).

The project will be one of the largest expansions of a nuclear power plant in U.S. history and will make Grand Gulf the largest single-unit nuclear power plant in the country.

The action is part of Entergy’s overall plan to close a growing gap between the amount of power the company produces and the amount customers use. The Grand Gulf Nuclear Station can produce electricity more cheaply than the company can buy power from the open market.

The upgrade will increase Grand Gulf’s production by more than 13 percent, bringing total output to 1,443 Megawatts. Moreover, Entergy Mississippi customers will benefit from a 53 MW increase; enough to power 53,000 typical Mississippi homes.

“This project will supply customers with additional clean, low-cost, base load electricity,” said Haley Fisackerly, president and chief executive officer for Entergy Mississippi, Inc. “In addition, the Grand Gulf upgrade will provide significant long-term savings to customers, help stabilize electricity bills and serve as a major investment into Mississippi’s economy and energy infrastructure.”

The total cost, estimated at $510 million, will be shared among the joint owners of the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station. Costs to Entergy Mississippi are estimated at $151 million. The company expects the additional production of reliable and low-cost power to greatly offset initial project costs, resulting in little-to-no initial impact on customers’ electricity bills, with savings on bills expected to appear within a couple of years after project implementation.

Grand Gulf is the most affordable source of electricity in Mississippi. It generates power at approximately 0.5 cents per kilowatt hour, saving Entergy Mississippi’s customers between $200,000 and $600,000 every day depending on the price of natural gas. More than half of Entergy Mississippi’s power is produced using natural gas, so this nuclear generator provides much-needed fuel diversity.

The project’s completion is scheduled for 2012. Most of the work will be accomplished during regularly scheduled maintenance outages.

“This is a cost-efficient way of meeting Mississippi’s increasing need for more electricity,” Fisackerly said. “We’ve worked closely with the MPSC to bring the benefits of the Grand Gulf upgrade to our customers.”

Grand Gulf employs 700 hard-working Mississippians, and generates $29.5 million in state and local tax payments each year.

In 2008, the plant prevented the emission of 15,600 tons of sulfur dioxide, 12,800 tons of nitrogen oxides and 7.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide which would have resulted from other power sources. For perspective, the 12,800 tons of nitrogen oxides avoided in Mississippi is the amount that would be released by 670,000 passenger cars. Roughly 1.1 million cars are registered in Mississippi.

“Entergy Mississippi is committed to providing affordable, reliable electricity to our customers, supporting our state’s economic development efforts and preserving the environment,” said Fisackerly. “By taking this action now, we’re helping ensure a bright future for Mississippi.”

Entergy Mississippi, Inc. provides electricity to more than 433,000 customers in 45 counties. It is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation. Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, and it is the second-largest nuclear generator in the United States. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.6 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

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