Electricity will keep pumping from the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station for at least two more decades.
The plant had its operating license renewed for an additional 20 years through Nov. 1, 2044, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced Thursday.
The Grand Gulf plant in Port Gibson was the first and remains the only nuclear power plant to produce electricity in Mississippi. The plant contributes power into Entergy’s service territory, delivering about 1.2 gigawatts of electricity to its customers.
Jami Cameron, a spokeswoman for Entergy, said the Grand Gulf plant produces 18.5 percent of the state’s electricity.
She said the a renewal process took five years of providing documentation to the NRC “to ensure that we could run safely, reliably and securely for another 20 years.”
Cameron said the plant’s current license runs through Nov. 1, 2024.
“We feel it just verifies that our commitment is not just to ongoing operations but also to the safety and security of environmental stewardship and we get to do it for years to come,” Carmeron said.
Mississippi Public Service Commission Chairman Brandon Presley said Thursday that extending the plant’s license is significant for the environment and economic health of the state because the plant does not emit pollutants and greenhouse gases associated with burning fossil fuels.
“This extension will allow rates to remain low and affordable for the people of Mississippi for the next 20 years,” Presley said in a statement.
Construction on Grand Gulf was completed in 1985. After a 2012 upgrade, the facility became the largest single-unit nuclear generating station in the U.S. and the fifth largest in the world, according to information from Entergy.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is also conducting a special inspection of the plant’s operations after maintenance issues caused the plant to suspend operations on Sept. 8.
Entergy expects the plant to come back on line in January after a thorough review of procedures, processes and protocols, Cameron said.