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Controlled demolition goes as planned at Kemper plant

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 4:16 PM CDT
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KEMPER COUNTY, Miss. (WTOK) - It has been 11 years since construction began on the Kemper County coal plant. This past weekend, some of that construction was brought down during a controlled demolition.

“The process of removing equipment will go on for some time now. This was just the next step,” Plant Ratcliffe manager Bruce Harrington explained. “We’ve had over 70,000 man hours of safe equipment removal and this was just another step in that process.”

People reported a loud explosion around 7:45 Saturday morning. The noise was the controlled implosion of a large, steel structure at Plant Ratcliffe.

“What it entailed was removing some of the tall structures on the site. What they typically do is use equipment to cut the steel, but when the structure is this tall they can’t reach it. They used some explosives and knocked the building down,” Harrington said.

Harrington said the demolition went off as planned.

“At no time was any of this unsafe. It was controlled, it was contained and went exactly as it was planned to go. At no time was it unsafe,” Harrington said.

In 2017, the plant stopped coal-based energy production. The $7 billion operation still produces energy for Mississippi Power customers. The company now burns natural gas instead of coal.

“We are generating electricity. In fact, we generated about a third of the power used for the 23 counties that Mississippi Power provides power for. We will continue to provide that power for over 190,000 customers,” Harrington said.

Similar demolitions will take place in the future.

“It’ll take some time to remove the equipment and steel that came to the ground on Saturday, so we don’t have a timeframe set on that yet. Yes, there will be an additional felling,” Harrington said.

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