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Grand Gulf Touts Safety Features Ahead of Power Boost

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 11 Jul 2011 05:55pm | comments
The Grand Gulf Reactor sits under a pool of water.

Officials at the Grand Gulf Nuclear plant near Port Gibson say they are confident that the plant is ready for any emergency....and won't repeatthe mistakes that led to the ongoing disaster at a plant in Japan . M-P-B's Jeffrey Hess takes a rare inside look at the plant and at its safety features.

The heart of the Grand Gulf nuclear plant lies behind to two massive 20-thousand pound air-lock doors.

Inside, nuclear specialist Brad Edwards explains that the plant has a number of safety features that the Fukishima plant didn't have, such as igniters to burn off any explosive Hydrogen.

"In addition we have hydrogen recombiners that can take that hydrogen combine it with oxygen and turn it into water. The whole strategy is, in the event of an event you take care of the hydrogen early on and you don't have an event like what happened in Japan," Edwards said.

The reactor also sits under a huge pool of water that can be released to rush water into the reactor in the event of an emergency.

The plant also has a series of back-up generators and extra water, all designed to keep the reactor cool under the worst conditions.

Grand Gulf Communication specialist Suzanne Anderson says they have a full scale mock up of their control room and put their employees through emergency scenarios testing their skills.

"This year, I believe, scheduled 6 drills where we simulate a possible disaster. Whether it is a hurricane, earthquake, tornado or anything like that. Each drill is very different. And we run the operation just as if something were actually occurring," Anderson said.

Nuclear specialist Edwards says it is a complicated and delicate process, but one that he thinks is safe.

"It is a complex process, but with appropriate training and the appropriate skill sets and knowledge and work on the unit it is a manageable process," Edwards said.

Keeping the plant online is about to become more important than ever because early next year the plant will undergo a series of upgrades to boost its output by about 13-percent.

That will enable the plant to power roughly 53-thousand additional homes and stay ahead of Mississippi growing power demands.




The Grand Gulf Reactor sits under a pool of water.



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