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Grand Gulf celebrates 20 years

PORT GIBSON – Twenty years have passed since Grand Gulf NuclearStation began commercial operations in Port Gibson.

Plant officials marked the 20-year anniversary by holding acompany party at the plant site Friday morning. More than 550 ofthe company’s employees attended the celebration, said Tim Crisler,corporate communication manager for the power plant.

“To mark this milestone, Grand Gulf is having a 20-yearcelebration event, which promises to be a day of fun for all thosein attendance,” said Crisler. “The theme for the event is’Celebrating Our Past, Creating Our Future.'”

Several speakers were on hand to talk about the plant’s past, aswell as where the plant is headed in the future, he said.

Grand Gulf President of Operations George Williams said “20years is a milestone for us.”

The plant is licensed for operation for 40 years, he said.

The future for the plant is bright, since statistics show thatthe country will need 50 percent more electricity in 2025. Theplant, which filed for an Early Site Permit in 2003, has kept itsoptions open in the future to build an advanced reactor.

The Grand Gulf site is one of the final six locations to beconsidered for construction of the new reactor. Williams said thefinal decision will be made in October.

Crisler said this is a major occasion for Entergy Cooperation,South Mississippi Electric Power Association and the employees ofGrand Gulf. South Mississippi Electric owns 10 percent undividedinterest in the facility and has been a partner in the nuclearstation project since its beginning, he said.

Speakers at the event praised employees for their contributionsto the plant, as well as its customers.

“On behalf of our entire staff of employees, I would like tothank our many customers for their support across the years toreach this very significant milestone,” said Williams.

Also present at the celebration was Williams McGlathery, fromGov. Haley Barbour’s office. He presented a proclamation to plantofficials, which was later signed by employees at thecelebration.

Approximately 50 Entergy employees live in and around theBrookhaven area, said Sheila Burd, senior human resourcesrepresentative, and a resident of Brookhaven.

Burd said the average length of employment for Brookhavenresidents is 21 years, with Kelly McDonald, work week manager inthe P/S-outage department, being employed the longest. He beganwork as a lineman in the Brookhaven distribution department in1973.

Richard Case, I and C technician, was the latest Brookhavenitehired at the plant. He was hired in 2000.

“Grand Gulf’s success is its people,” said Burd. “Employeesrespect and depend on each other’s diverse skills, abilities,knowledge and experience to get the job done.”