Entergy to hold public hearing on 2nd reactor

Published 11:34 pm Monday, March 16, 2009

Officials at Entergy Nuclear will hold a public hearing March 23 in Port Gibson to explain the decision to suspend its application to build a second reactor at Grand Gulf Nuclear Station in Claiborne County.

The meeting will be held at Port Gibson City Hall.

Entergy Nuclear spokesman Jami Cameron says the suspension resulted from a breakdown in talks with GE Hitachi, which was to be contracted to develop the boiling water reactor at a second facility if a decision to build a new $4 billion plant was made.

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“We haven’t fielded any face-to-face questions, but it’ll be one of the first things talked about,” Cameron said.

Reactor parts were pre-ordered in July 2007. A fifth design revision was submitted to the NRC in May 2008, coupled with requests to GE Hitachi about critical parts, Entergy officials have said.

The early site permit at Grand Gulf was approved in March 2007 after a five-year process. Environmental studies have been completed and have met federal standards.

Entergy’s River Bend site in St. Francisville, La., has won the same approvals. Actual development at either or both sites will be determined based on energy demand and the cost of energy production from various sources, company officials have said.

The now-suspended Nuclear Regulatory Commission review of the application for a construction and operating license was also expected to have taken five years.

According to the original timetable, a second nuclear reactor at Grand Gulf could be complete by 2017. Grand Gulf has a 1,266-megawatt boiling water reactor on its 2,100-acre site off U.S. Highway 61 that became operational in 1985. It employs more than 700 people.

Almost all of Claiborne County’s income has, for 24 years, come from taxes on the utility.