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NRC Vote Authorizes ESP for Entergy's Grand Gulf Site

It's been a busy day here at NEI, but not so busy that we can't pass along this great news:
By a 5-0 vote, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission today authorized the NRC’s Office of New Reactors to issue an Early Site Permit (ESP) to System Energy Resources Inc. for the Grand Gulf ESP site near Port Gibson, Miss. The staff has 10 business days to carry out the Commission’s directions and issue the permit, the second ESP the NRC has approved.

Successful completion of the ESP process resolves many site-related safety and environmental issues, and determines the site is suitable for possible future construction and operation of a nuclear power plant. The company filed its ESP application Oct. 21, 2003. The permit will be valid for up to 20 years. During that time, the company (or any other potential applicant interested in the site) must still seek NRC approval for a Combined License to build one or more nuclear plants on the site before any significant construction can occur.

The NRC staff’s technical review of the Grand Gulf ESP application covered issues such as how the site’s characteristics affect plant safety, environmental protection, and plans for coping with emergencies. The staff published a final safety evaluation and a final environmental impact statement for the Grand Gulf ESP in April 2006. The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) conducted a hearing on the matter and ruled Jan. 26 that the permit could be issued.

The NRC issued the first-ever ESP for the Clinton site in Illinois on March 15. The NRC continues to work on two other ESP applications, North Anna in Virginia and Vogtle in Georgia. The staff has completed its technical review of the North Anna application, which is currently the focus of an ASLB hearing. The staff expects to issue a draft environmental impact statement and initial safety report on the Vogtle application by late summer.
Congrats to everyone involved on a job well done.


Joffan said…
Great news on the ESPs!

What's the status of the Combined Operating Licence procedure, and has anyone submitted an application yet?
gunter said…

Yeah... NIRS intervened in this one. Amazing what we found.

In 1986, in a classic move only Mississippi could pull off, MP&L and the Mississippi State Legislature passed legislation to strip Claiborne County (83% African American and 34% at/below the poverty line) of 70% of their promised property tax assessment for the newly completed reactor and re-allocate it in electricity rate relief to 46 other western Mississippi counties facing the "rate shock" from Grand Goof Unit 1.

Even the NRC staff's new licensing review acknowledged that this peculiar type of environmental "justice" disproportionately left the county unprepared for emergency planning issues associated with the propopsed second reactor site.

But, hey, says the Commission that don't count so we will give 'em the license.

Must say that was real white of you.

Believe me, being born in "WHITES ONLY" Philadelphia, Mississippi I have a keen sense for this pecular type of bias.

BTW... its the 21st Century?

Have you helped repealed Mississippi's racist "Nuclear Power Subsidization Act"?

Shameful... to keep Grand Goof's electric rate low by swindling the poorest black county in the United States out of money for their fire department, their police force, their medical facility and their county road infrastructure (emergency planning routes no less.]

Despite that, though, its really all about whether you all are willing to walk the the talk with a construction permit, isn't it?

Looks like you got just enough to get back into the swamp and sink that credit rating?

And on the fed's hind tit...emmmhmmmm?

KenG said…
Relative to the COL status, I think the first COLs may be submitted in the second half of 2007 but the real flood of COLs will be in 2008.
David Bradish said…

You and the whole anti-nuclear crowd keep bringing up this environmental racism crap but don't appear to be listening to what the actual community is saying. Here's a link on the African American Environmentalist Association's take on Grand Gulf.

"The unemployment rate is in the double digits in Claibourne County and a new plant would bring jobs to the county. Currently, at least 100 local residents are among the company's more than 700 employees, and Entergy pays about $680,000 a year in city taxes, more than a third of the budget.

Antinuclear groups tried to enter the licensing hearings at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission so they could present the argument that building another reactor in Claiborne County, which is about 85 percent African-American, was an example of "environmental racism," putting undesirable facilities in poor, minority towns. But the mayor, the county supervisor and the Entergy vice president at Grand Gulf (George A. Williams), all African-American, rejected that idea."

Here's a blog post on one of the hearings from Michael Stuart who went back in 2005. I'm sure you remember it:

"Claiborne County is nearly unanimous in support of a new reactor. We were told that citizens in the community do not respond favorably when people from outside the community arrive and try to claim the proposed siting is an environmental injustice, particularly when the community which is 85% African-American is eagerly seeking the new development."

It's not "amazing what we found." It's amazing what you made up.
Brian Mays said…
Does anyone else smell desperation on the part of Mr. Gunter and NIRS? Really, his comment was rather pathetic and a bit racist as well.

But, hey, it must be difficult to watch your life work crumble before you in your old age. Despite all of the lies, the disinformation, the "factoids," the interventions, the snide remarks, and the blatant BS, there is nothing that poor Mr. Gunter can do to stop new nuclear from forging ahead.

What is puzzling to me is why Mr. Gunter does not welcome the Nuclear Renaissance. After all, if the claims he makes over and over are really true, nuclear is unavoidably uneconomical, and any push today would surely result in the nuclear industry's quick, but painful, death under sinking credit ratings and bankruptcy.

Yet, Mr. Gunter is afraid of nuclear's comeback. Why is that? Could it be that he understands what is in store better than he lets on?

Sorry, Mr. Gunter, this is the twenty-first century and nuclear is back. The citizens of Claiborne County realize this and welcome it. It is only old fossils like you, whose actions help only the fossil-fuel industry, who are still in denial.
Anonymous said…
Yes, Gunter's comments are becoming increasing irrelevant and convoluted.

First off, the long ago machinations of the Mississippi State Legislature and complexities of racial issues in that state hardly reflect anything on the nuclear power industry as a whole or the construction of new nuclear plants in particular.

Second, he seems to be contradicting himself. By claiming that the property taxes were misdirected, he implicitly admits that nuclear plants are cash cows to the surrounding communities. Now this is something very familiar to anyone who has spent any time in the industry. But Gunter can't have it both ways. If the nuclear power industry is subsidized (i.e. doesn't pay its share of taxes), then his complaints are moot. On the other hand, if he is complaining about a misdirected cash flow, the cash flow must be considerable to merit such banal histrionics. Which is it?
gunter said…

The fact remains that one of the poorest counties in the US has long been subsidizing exhorbidantly expensive nuclear electricity rates for western Mississippi. Even today.

Your feeble defense reminds me of those "Whites Only" signs that used to emblazen laundry mats, bathrooms and water fountains in the deep south.

Go along to get along.

Mr. Bradish, try looking up the amendment to the Mississippi State Tax Code and check into reality. Deliberately uninformed sophistry is not flattering.

Isn't Mr. Norris in NEI's pay?

And what has the commercial endorsment of Entergy by the mayor, the county administrator and the company CEO got anything to do with the twisted logic needed to defend the disproportionately adverse impact of poverty on Claiborne County citizens by having their property tax dues ciphoned off to 46 other counties to artifically lower nuclear electricity rates?

Anonymous' contortion of logic offers no regard for "long ago"
mistreatment of an entire black community.

True, a $4 billion investment can raise tax revenue for those who harbor nuclear power plants in most places, while neighboring communnities in the outlying emergency planning zones and beyond get the risk and no tax incentatives.

Point is, gentlemen, its more than peculiar that is not the case in Claiborne County,today. In fact, the county was cheated out of its due in a backroom scheme to artificially deflate Grand Goof's expensive nuclear power throughout the rest of the state.

Clearly the responders to this posting place their loyalties in shielding corporate profits over environmental justice.

gunter, NIRS
KenG said…
Gunter's point escapes me. Are we to really believe that the county where Grand Gulf is located actually loses money by having the plant? That the cost of the supporting infrastructure is greater than the taxes gained by having the plant there?

As far as the "excessive" electricity rates due to Grand Gulf (and other southern nuclear units), you have to cherry pick the data to come to that conclusion. Over the last few years, electricity rates in Louisiana and Mississippi have been high because of a lack of nuclear. The high gas prices (that organizations like NIRS have been pushing the US to) have hit that area very hard and they desperately need nuclear additions since coal is not a viable choice.
Brian Mays said…

Since when did Gunter need to have a point before shooting his mouth off here?

Although, I'll admit, he seems to have hit a new low this time. His comments hardly amount to more than, "Ooh look! Black people! The nuclear industry must be racist." It would almost be funny if it wasn't so pathetically transparent.

But then again, this is the kind of condescending attitude that one has come to expect from busybody white guys in well-off suburban Maryland. He is convinced that he knows better, so he has the right to tell the poor, misguided (backward?) community down in Mississippi what is in their best interest. "Environmental Justice" (yeah right) is his own personal "white man's burden."

Look, you all have heard it from his own mouth. The opinions of the local elected officials (who also happen to be members of the local African-American majority) are irrelevant. Who cares what the mayor thinks? What is worse is that he's not above calling Mr. Norris an "Uncle Tom," in so many words, to counter any further evidence of the community's opinion of their local nuclear plant.

I realize that Gunter is desperate, but his comments here, confusing as they are, really disgust me. If they are the type of arguments that he and NIRS put forth in their intervention during the ESP process, then it is no wonder that the NRC unanimously voted to authorize the Grand Gulf permit.
Brian Mays said…
Oh, by the way, Mr. Gunter,

It might have helped your case a little if you had referred to "Mr. Norris" by his correct name: Mr. McDonald.
Anonymous said…
Gunter's rebuttal stoops to more race baiting having nothing to with the NEI or anyone involved in the nuclear power industry.

But he did admit that the local property taxes paid by a nuclear plant (~$10 million per year) are very significant - an important concession from someone consistently griping that the nuclear power industry is unfairly subsidized. The opposite of a subsidy being a tax, Gunter implicitly admits that the nuclear power industry offsets its minimal subsidies. His gripe seems to be that this largesse was misdirected in one case, to the detriment of a poor community. If true, this is regrettable, needless to say, but hardly reason to condemn the nuclear power industry.

The environmental risks imposed by nuclear power are so vanishingly small that his comments are moot. A real crime would be building another coal or natural gas fired plant, which is what the people of Mississippi would do, where it not for nuclear power.
Anonymous said…
Gunter's race baiting is deplorable.

Gunter is trying to have it both ways. He says that nuclear power is bad, but even when it does something good (pay taxes), that's bad, too. His wish is to shutter the nuclear power industry completely, but he concedes a nuclear power plant is a tremendous economic asset, and complains that the benefits of this asset were misappropriated in one instance.

If Gunter has his way, a would-be nuclear plant will be replaced by a coal or natural gas fired plant. Now that would be a crime against everyone in Mississippi.
Kelly L. Taylor said…
Mr Gunter,

The people of Claiborne County, who have hosted the existing Grand Gulf nuclear power station are in favor of hosting a second reactor, as long as equitable treatment is made of the property taxes. In light of such, your position to oppose the new facility on the basis of inequitable tax distribution from the existing station is illogical, condescending, and absurd.

You cannot blame the entire nuclear industry for the action of the Mississippi legislature and judicial branch back in 1986. Grand Gulf Unit 1 came online in 1984, so the current property tax structure was enshrined after that (and therefore did not affect the decision to build or operate the facility). I don't understand how you can claim the distribution of property taxes artificially suppresses electric rates, when Grand Gulf's owners are still paying property taxes - not all of the money is going into the Claiborne County treasury, but it *is* still being paid, and is carried as part of the expense of owning and operating the station.

Whether Mr. MacDonald is or is not paid by NEI (and I believe he is not, although I've never asked him) is not relevant to his position and arguments. Aren't you paid to work for an anti-nuclear lobbying organization? By your (false) logic, we could otherwise be justified in dismissing your position simply because you're paid to make anti-nuclear assertions.

Paul Primavera said…
Kelly said regarding Gunter:

"By your (false) logic, we could otherwise be justified in dismissing your position simply because you're paid to make anti-nuclear assertions."

I wonder how much money going to Gunter and the rest of NIRS comes from the fossil fuel industry (however indirectly and however concealed), since they have the most to benefit from stopping nuclear energy.
Brian Mays said…
Paul Primavera wrote:

"I wonder how much money going to Gunter and the rest of NIRS comes from the fossil fuel industry (however indirectly and however concealed), since they have the most to benefit from stopping nuclear energy."

Like the number of licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop, the world may never know.

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