PORT GIBSON, MS (WLBT) - The permit to build Grand Gulf was issued in 1974, and originally the project was not expected to take 11 years to get off the ground. At one point it was projected to open in 1983.
As Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant told us during the plant's Silver Anniversary celebration Thursday, the visionaries met a lot of resistance building the Grand Gulf in the first place.
"It was safety concerns in the 1980's," said Bryant. "You had Three Mile Island, "The China Syndrome" movie came out, so everybody thought we were gonna melt the core of the earth. We knew better, but there were a lot of lawsuits."
The naysayers would lose in the end. Grand Gulf began producing electricity on July 1, 1985. It's a high-performing nuclear energy producer with an outstanding safety record, using a small amount of fuel, land, and water, and saving Mississippi's power customers hundreds of thousands of dollars every day.
Public Service Commissioner Lynn Posey came along for the celebration. He helped build the plant during his college years.
"I think about 1975-78, worked here for a construction company, real interesting experience," said Posey. "I hope they have a third reactor here some time. They canceled the second reactor. There was two to start with. If they build another, this will be the third one."
A future phase for Grand Gulf will probably include a world class nuclear research lab in partnership with Alcorn State University.
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