The project includes activities for the energy power upgrade, which will make the reactor at Grand Gulf the single most powerful nuclear generating unit in the nation. It will increase Grand Gulf’s output by approximately 178 Megawatts (MW). This is a 13 percent increase above current production levels of 1,265 MW
- Edited by Linton Levy -
As Grand Gulf Nuclear Station opened its breakers and began its 17th refueling outage earlier this month, it took its first step towards making history. While the usual work is taking place—maintenance, replacing spent fuel, troubleshooting, etc. –Grand Gulf employees are also laying the foundation for a project that will benefit customers for decades.
The project includes activities for the energy power upgrade, which will make the reactor at Grand Gulf the single most powerful nuclear generating unit in the nation. It will increase Grand Gulf’s output by approximately 178 Megawatts (MW). This is a 13 percent increase above current production levels of 1,265 MW.
Approximately 53 MW from the upgrade will directly benefit Entergy Mississippi’s customers. The additional generation will produce enough energy to power up to 53,000 more Mississippi homes.
Grand Gulf is already the most affordable source of electricity in Mississippi. It currently generates power at approximately 0.5 cent per kilowatt hour, saving Entergy Mississippi’s customers hundreds of thousands of dollars every day, depending on the price of natural gas-powered electricity. More than 60 percent of Entergy Mississippi’s power is produced using natural gas.
The company expects the influx of reliable and low-cost energy to greatly offset the initial project costs, resulting in little-to-no impact on customers’ electricity bills. Included in the scope of work required to complete the project will be: • installation of a refurbished main generator with an uprated capacity; • replacement of the high-pressure turbine rotor with a larger unit; • upgrade of electrical equipment to accommodate increased output; • enhancement to the cooling capacity of the station; • installation of an enhanced power range neutron monitoring system; • replacement of a number of plant heat exchangers and pumps for higher capacity;• and replacement of the station’s main transformers.
Projects included within the scope of the current refueling outage include:• improving water distribution to increase cooling efficiency in the stand-by service water cooling tower; • structural and mechanical work preparing for the addition of eight cells to the auxiliary cooling tower; • key measurements taken in preparation for the planned installation of a new steam dryer; • high-precision electronic mapping of all three condensers in preparation for replacement of feedwater heaters; • and performing over twenty system and component walk downs to determine requirements for various other pieces of equipment.
Completion of the upgrade project is scheduled for late 2012 following the scheduled refueling outage in the spring.
“This upgrade will save customers money by increasing the capacity of our existing reactor,” said Randy Douet, vice president of operations at Grand Gulf. “It will assure them of having electricity available whenever they want or need it.”
In addition to the long-term benefits of the power upgrade, the outage also provides a positive short-term economic benefit to the community. Planned refueling outages call for a temporary additional workforce of approximately 1,000, all of whom need housing, meals and other essentials provided by local merchants.
“The park is now fully occupied with 32 campers each paying $119 per week,” said Cathy Dodgen, administrative assistant, Grand Gulf State Military Park. “Normally during this time of year, we have about 15 campers. We love the outage.”
Along with renting trailer space, the additional employees spend money on hotel rooms and in restaurants and at gas stations, just to mention a few of the establishments that have benefited economically from the outage.
“Year-round, Grand Gulf provides more than 700 well-paying jobs for Mississippians,” said Douet. “Through our outages, we’re proud to offer even more work opportunities that greatly benefit the economy of this area.”
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 2.7 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $10 billion and more than 15,000 employees.
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