Southern Nuclear plants generated clean, reliable power from dismantled Russian nuclear warheads

Dec 12, 2013, 10:10 ET from Southern Company

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Dec. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Since 1995, Southern Nuclear has been an active participant in a historic program that turns uranium from former Russian nuclear warheads into clean, reliable electricity in the United States. With the final shipment of low enriched uranium from Russia arriving in the United States on December 10, 2013, government and nuclear industry officials in Russia and the United States are marking the end of this successful program.

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Southern Nuclear plants Farley, Hatch and Vogtle have used low enriched uranium fuel created from a total of 847 dismantled Russian nuclear warheads whose weapons-grade uranium was diluted, or "downblended", to a level usable in commercial nuclear power plants. Specifically, Plant Farley units 1 and two have used 230, Plant Hatch units 1 and 2 have used 268 and Plant Vogtle units 1 and 2 have used 349.

U.S. utilities have purchased this fuel for their commercial nuclear power plants under a program known as Megatons to Megawatts, which has helped fuel approximately 10 percent of the country's electricity during that time. Southern Nuclear received this fuel as part of its commercial fuel contract for low enriched uranium with USEC Inc., the U.S. executive agent for the program.

The Megatons to Megawatts Program is a unique, commercially financed government-industry partnership in which uranium from dismantled Russian nuclear warheads has been recycled to produce fuel for American nuclear power plants.  The 20 year, $8 billion program has been implemented at no cost to taxpayers and is arguably the most successful nuclear disarmament program in history. Virtually the entire U.S. nuclear reactor fleet has used this fuel.

After the final shipment of 500 metric tons of Russian uranium, the equivalent of 20,000 nuclear warheads have now been recycled into low enriched uranium – enough material to produce fuel to power the entire United States for about two years.

"Megatons to Megawatts was a remarkable program that promoted the peaceful reuse of former nuclear weapons material," said Southern Nuclear President and CEO Steve Kuczynski. "Southern Nuclear has been a great advocate of the peaceful reuse of former nuclear weapons material; this program demonstrated that we can turn swords into plowshares to benefit all parties involved."

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 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 and listed by DiversityInc as a top company for Blacks. The company received the 2012 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

SOURCE Southern Company