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Grand Gulf Nuclear Station gets turbine control upgrade during $200M refueling, maintenance outage

Photo courtesy Entergy.

Entergy invested more than $200 million in upgrades during Grand Gulf Nuclear Station’s scheduled refueling and maintenance outage.

The 22nd such planned outage allowed for an extensive modernization of Grand Gulf’s turbine control system, among other improvements. The 35-year-old, single-unit generating facility is located in Claiborne County, Mississippi.

More than 800 Entergy employees and 1,500 additional contracted workers participated in the on-site overhaul which happens every 18 months to two years.

“I am extremely pleased with the nuclear professionalism and teamwork of the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station employees, those supporting from the fleet and our dedicated contracting partners during the refueling and maintenance outage,” said Chris Bakken, Entergy chief nuclear officer. “The team did a phenomenal job of safely refueling the unit, completing important upgrades and maintenance, and returning it to service under extraordinary circumstances of the global pandemic. Our key stakeholders depend on us to keep the clean electricity flowing, and Grand Gulf is a critical part of this country’s infrastructure.”

The turbine control system update was a major undertaking that positions the plant for years of additional service. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has licensed Grand Gulf for operation through 2044.

Eric Larson, Grand Gulf site vice president, thanked Grand Gulf team members for their focus and dedication during the outage.

“Outages are always complicated and challenging with thousands of tasks and projects, but we were especially challenged with bringing more than 1,500 additional contractors on-site during the COVID-19 global pandemic,” he said. “However, our team responded. Our company has invested millions of dollars in Grand Gulf. The investments and upgrades – with our excellent team – will help ensure the plant continues to provide clean, carbon-free power and be a positive force in our local community.”

Grand Gulf became Mississippi’s first-ever nuclear power generation when it went online in 1985. A power upgrade project in 2012 made it the largest single-unit nuclear power plant in the nation and fifth in the world. It is powered by a GE boiling water reactor.

(Rod Walton is content director for Power Engineering and POWERGEN International. he can be reached at 918-831-9177 and [email protected]).