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Southern Nuclear resumes operations of Unit 1 at 1.8GW Hatch nuclear plant in US

EBR Staff Writer Published 07 March 2018

Southern Nuclear Operating Company, a subsidiary of Southern Company, has resumed operations of the 924MW Unit 1 at the 1,848MW Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant located near Baxley, Georgia, in the southeastern US.

The resumption of operations at the unit follows a planned refueling and maintenance outage.

During the outage, which commenced on 04 February, Southern Nuclear in partnership with Global Nuclear Fuel has installed accident tolerant fuel test assemblies.

Developed by the US Department of Energy, the technology is the first of its kind to be installed in a commercial nuclear reactor. It provides industry-changing safety and efficiency advantages for operators.

Southern Nuclear, nuclear fuel director John Williams said: "Our top priority is the safety and health of the public and our employees, and this game-changing technology will make plants even safer, resulting in more flexibility in our operations.

“This is not a small step, but a leap for our industry."

The Unit 1 had undergone last refueling outage in spring 2016 as each unit at Plant Hatch facility requires new fuel every 24 months.

During the latest outage period, the firm refueled the reactor and performed regular maintenance and testing in addition to making upgrades to plant systems and components.

The Plant Hatch Unit 2, however, continued to generate electricity.

Plant Hatch vice-president David Vineyard said: "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." 

In January 2002, the NRC has approved 20-year operating licenses extension for the unit 1 and unit 2 at the nuclear facility enabling them to continue operation through 2034 and 2038, respectively. 

The Edwin I. Hatch nuclear plant, which is operated by Southern Nuclear, is jointly owned by Georgia Power with 50.1% stake, Oglethorpe Power Corporation with 30% interest, Municipal Electrical Authority of Georgia with 17.7% stake and Dalton Utilities with 2.2% interest.