Employees safely return Plant Vogtle's unit 1 to service following planned refueling and maintenance outage

Oct 18, 2012, 12:12 ET from Southern Company

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Oct. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Unit 1 of the Alvin M. Vogtle Nuclear Plant near Waynesboro, Ga., has safely resumed generating electricity following completion of a successful, planned refueling and maintenance outage. Electricity production resumed Oct. 18 at 10:43 a.m. ET.

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Each unit at Plant Vogtle requires new fuel every 18 months. In addition to refueling the reactor and performing regular maintenance and testing, workers made upgrades to plant systems and components.

"The work performed during this 17th refueling outage for unit 1 is a significant investment in our facility," said Tom Tynan, site vice president for Vogtle units 1 and 2. "The unit is positioned not just for the next 18 months but for years of continued safe and reliable electricity production." 

Among the activities completed during the fall outage was the installation of a digital feed water system that replaced analog technology original to the plant.

"We made upgrades to several systems and components," Tynan said. "We performed inspections and tests to evaluate the health of our plant. Westinghouse's rigorous examination of our reactor vessel head – conducted every six years – showed it is in excellent condition."   

Employees from across the Southern Nuclear fleet assisted Vogtle's team of more than 900 in the refueling effort. More than 1,000 additional employees from Williams, Westinghouse, General Electric and other partners performed specialized tasks. This supplemental workforce provided economic stimulus to surrounding communities during their stay in the area.

"Our employees are to be commended for completing this outage safely and efficiently," Tynan said.

The last refueling outage for unit 1 was completed in spring 2011. The unit marked its 25th year of safe, reliable operations in May of this year.

Vogtle unit 2 continued to safely generate electricity while unit 1 was offline and 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.

About Southern Company:    With 4.4 million customers and more than 43,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier energy company serving the Southeast. A leading U.S. producer of 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 excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are below the national average. Southern Company also 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.

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SOURCE Southern Company