Grand Gulf Nuclear Station

Grand Gulf Nuclear Station is a nuclear power station with one operational GE BWR reactor (General Electric boiling water reactor). It lies on a 2,100 acres (850 ha) site near Port Gibson, Mississippi. The site is wooded and contains two lakes. The plant has a 520-foot natural draft cooling tower.

Grand Gulf Nuclear Generating Station
Official nameGrand Gulf Nuclear Station
CountryUnited States
LocationClaiborne County, near Port Gibson, Mississippi
Coordinates32°0′26″N 91°2′52″W / 32.00722°N 91.04778°W / 32.00722; -91.04778Coordinates: 32°0′26″N 91°2′52″W / 32.00722°N 91.04778°W / 32.00722; -91.04778
Construction beganMay 4, 1974 (1974-05-04)
Commission dateJuly 1, 1985
Construction cost$6.325 billion (2007 USD)[1]
Owner(s)Entergy (90%)
Cooperative Energy (10%)
Operator(s)Entergy Nuclear
Nuclear power station
Reactor typeBWR
Reactor supplierGeneral Electric
Cooling towers1 × Natural Draft
Cooling sourceMississippi River
Thermal capacity1 × 4408 MWth
Power generation
Units operational1 × 1401 MW
Make and modelBWR-6 (Mark 3)
Units cancelled1 × 1250 MWe BWR-6
1 × 1520 MWe ESBWR
Nameplate capacity1401 MW
Capacity factor60.61% (2017)
84.50% (lifetime)
Annual net output7438 GWh (2017)
External links
WebsiteGrand Gulf Nuclear Station

Grand Gulf's reactor is the most powerful in the world,[2] with a core power of 4408 MWth[3] yielding a nominal gross electrical output of about 1500 MWe.

Grand Gulf is operated by Entergy, which also owns 90% of the station through their subsidiary, System Energy Resources Inc. The other 10% is owned by Cooperative Energy.

Units 2 and 3Edit

Adjacent to the operating Grand Gulf station, is an unfinished concrete structure that was to be the containment for Unit 2, a twin to the existing Unit 1. In December 1979, staggered by construction cost, Entergy (then called Middle South Utilities) stopped work on Unit 2.

On September 22, 2005, it was announced that Grand Gulf had been selected as the site for a GE ESBWR reactor. For details, see Nuclear Power 2010 Program. This was to be Unit 3.

In 2007, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued an Early Site Permit (ESP) to Grand Gulf.[4] In 2008, Entergy and NuStart submitted a Combined Construction and Operating License (COL) application for a potential new nuclear unit at the Grand Gulf.[5]

On January 9, 2009, Entergy indefinitely postponed work towards the license and construction of Unit 3. In September 2015 the NRC withdrew the COL for the ESBWR unit, at the request of Entergy.[6]

Surrounding populationEdit

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission defines two emergency planning zones around nuclear power plants: a plume exposure pathway zone with a radius of 10 miles (16 km), concerned primarily with exposure to, and inhalation of, airborne radioactive contamination, and an ingestion pathway zone of about 50 miles (80 km), concerned primarily with ingestion of food and liquid contaminated by radioactivity.[7]

The 2010 U.S. population within 10 miles (16 km) of Grand Gulf was 6,572, a decrease of 18.6 percent in a decade, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data for The 2010 U.S. population within 50 miles (80 km) was 321,400, a decrease of 0.4 percent since 2000. Cities within 50 miles include Port Gibson (5 miles to city center), Vicksburg (25 miles).[8] Alcorn State University is 25 miles southwest of the plant.

Seismic riskEdit

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's estimate of the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at Grand Gulf was 1 in 83,333, according to an NRC study published in August 2010.[9][10]

Release of low levels of tritium into Mississippi RiverEdit

After heavy rains in late April, 2011, workers were pumping standing water that had collected in the abandoned, never-completed Unit 2 turbine building into the Mississippi River. Detectors sounded alarms at the presence of tritium in the water, and the pumping was stopped, and the accidental release was reported to the Mississippi Health Department and to the NRC. As of the dates of the news reports, it was unknown both how much tritium had entered the river, and how the tritium had collected in the standing water, given that Unit 2 was not an operational reactor, and had never been completed. It is unknown how much tritium entered the river, because samples were not taken at the time of the leak. The NRC is investigating to find the source of the leak.[11][12][13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "EIA - State Nuclear Profiles". Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  2. ^ "Nuclear Safety: Unusual Event at Grand Gulf & What It Means - Nuclear Energy Info". Nuclear Energy, Reactor and Radiation Facts. Fairewinds Energy Education. 2021-01-13. Archived from the original on 2021-01-14. Retrieved 2021-01-14.
  3. ^ "Approved applications for EPU". U.S. NRC. 2012-09-25. Retrieved 2012-12-04.
  4. ^ "Second US site gains new build permit". World Nuclear News. 2007-03-28. Archived from the original on 2008-10-14. Retrieved 2008-08-29.
  5. ^ "New COL filed; other US applications progressing". World Nuclear News. 2008-02-28. Retrieved 2008-08-29.
  6. ^ "US Entergy formally drops ESBWR application". Nuclear Engineering International. 24 September 2015. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-10-02. Retrieved 2012-02-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Bill Dedman, Nuclear neighbors: Population rises near US reactors, NBC News, April 14, 2011 Accessed May 1, 2011.
  9. ^ Bill Dedman, "What are the odds? US nuke plants ranked by quake risk," NBC News, March 17, 2011 Accessed April 19, 2011.
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-05-25. Retrieved 2011-04-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ Associated Press via Picayune Item, "Grand Gulf checks leak of tritium to Miss. River", May 11, 2011 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-18. Retrieved 2011-05-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Accessed May 12, 2011
  12. ^ "Tritium released by Grand Gulf still not measured", Sun Herald, May 11, 2011 Archived 2011-05-18 at the Wayback Machine Accessed May 12, 2011
  13. ^ "Radioactive water released into river at Grand Gulf", Natchez Democrat, May 4, 2011 Accessed May 11, 2011

External linksEdit