BIRMINGHAM, Ala., March 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Unit 1 of the Edwin I. Hatch Electric Generating Plant near Baxley, Ga., has safely resumed generating electricity following completion of a scheduled refueling and maintenance outage.
Plant operators safely took the unit offline on Feb. 8. Electricity production resumed on Friday, March 4 at 7:45 p.m. ET. As Unit 1 returns to full power, operators will perform a sequence of fuel rod pattern adjustments. Fuel rod pattern adjustments are required in boiling water reactors following deep down powers and outages to ensure the most efficient use of nuclear fuel.
In addition to refueling the reactor and performing regular maintenance and testing, workers made upgrades to plant systems and components to enhance efficiency and reliability.
"Safety is our top priority, and our team is to be commended for completing this outage safely and efficiently," said Plant Hatch Vice President David Vineyard. "The work we perform during our outages is a significant investment in our facility. Unit 1 is positioned not just for the next 24 months, but for years of continued safe and reliable electricity production."
During the outage, employees completed the requirements for FLEX, the nuclear industry's flexible, diverse coping strategy to protect U.S. plants against extreme events.
"With back-up emergency equipment purchased and stored in the plant's dome – and plant modifications, procedures and training in place – Hatch Unit 1 now has full capability to mitigate extreme events," said David Gambrell, Southern Nuclear's Severe Accident Management Director. "If Hatch experienced an earthquake, a tornado or a flood, we can safely shut down and keep the reactor core and spent nuclear fuel cool. Thanks to FLEX, Plant Hatch – as well as our neighbors and our employees – are safer than ever before."
Employees from across the Southern Nuclear fleet assisted Hatch's staff of more than 900 in the refueling effort. Approximately 800 additional workers from General Electric, Day and Zimmerman, and other partners performed specialized tasks. These supplemental workers provided economic stimulus to surrounding communities during their stay in the area.
The last refueling outage for Unit 1 was completed in spring 2014. Hatch Unit 2 continued to safely generate electricity while Unit 1 was offline for the refueling.
About Southern Nuclear:
Southern Nuclear, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), is one of the nation's leading nuclear energy facility operators. Producing safe, reliable and environmentally friendly nuclear energy, Southern Nuclear operates a total of six units for Alabama Power and Georgia Power at the Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant near Dothan, Ala.; the Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant near Baxley, Ga., and the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant near Waynesboro, Ga. Southern Nuclear is the licensee of two new nuclear units currently under construction at Plant Vogtle, which will be the first nuclear units constructed in the United States in more than 30 years. Southern Nuclear employs more than 3,500 skilled and dedicated professionals who are committed each day to nuclear and personal safety and the health and safety of the public. The company's headquarters is based in Birmingham, Ala. Twitter: @SouthernNuclear; Facebook: facebook.com/southernnuclear; www.southerncompany.com/southernnuclear.
About Southern Company: With more than 4.4 million customers and nearly 46,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier energy company serving the Southeast through its subsidiaries. A leading U.S. producer of clean, safe, reliable and affordable electricity, Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states and a growing competitive generation company, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for energy innovation, excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are below the national average. Southern Company and its subsidiaries are leading the nation's nuclear renaissance through the construction of the first new nuclear units to be built in a generation of Americans and are demonstrating their commitment to energy innovation through the development of a state-of-the-art coal gasification plant. Southern Company has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense and G.I. Jobs magazine as a top military employer, listed by DiversityInc as a top company for Blacks and designated a 2013 Top Employer for Hispanics by Hispanic Network. The company received the Edison Award from the Edison Electric Institute for its leadership in new nuclear development, was named Electric Light & Power magazine's Utility of the Year for 2012 and is continually ranked among the top utilities in Fortune's annual World's Most Admired Electric and Gas Utility rankings. Visit our website at www.southerncompany.com.
SOURCE Southern Company