Plant Vogtle Unit 2 returns to service, sets Southern Nuclear fleet record on refueling outage performance

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Oct. 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Unit 2 of the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant near Waynesboro, Georgia, has safely resumed generating electricity following completion of a scheduled refueling and maintenance outage. The outage duration was 17 days, 5 hours and 36 minutes – a Southern Nuclear fleet record.

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Plant operators safely took the unit offline Sunday, Sept. 17, at 4:57 a.m. EDT, and it resumed electricity production Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 10:18 a.m. EDT. 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.

The most significant upgrade for this outage was the installation of a digital controls system for the main turbine generator and associated equipment. This new Mark VIe system from General Electric replaces the plant's original analog control mechanisms. Plant Vogtle's control room operators are now able to monitor and manipulate multiple turbine systems via touchscreens and keyboards. The new system has redundant backup systems which provide additional levels of safety beyond those that existed in the original design. This advanced digital controls system was installed on Plant Vogtle Unit 1 in the spring 2017 refueling outage.

"Safety is our top priority, and our team is to be commended for exceeding the safety and efficiency expectations for this outage and achieving record-breaking milestones," said Darin Myers, site vice president for Vogtle units 1 and 2. "The work performed during this outage is a significant investment in our facility. It enhances our ability to produce clean, safe, affordable and reliable nuclear energy for the next 18 months and for many years to come."

Southern Company subsidiary Southern Nuclear operates Plant Vogtle on behalf of Georgia Power and the plant's other Georgia co-owners. Employees from across the Southern Nuclear fleet as well as nearly 1,200 additional workers from Westinghouse, General Electric, Day & Zimmermann, Williams Corporation and other companies came to the plant to assist the site employees in completing the multiple tasks required to ensure the unit will run safely and reliably for the next 18 months.

These additional workers provide considerable economic stimulus to surrounding communities during their stay in the area.

The last refueling outage for Unit 2 was completed in spring 2016. Unit 1 continued to safely generate electricity while Unit 2 was offline for refueling.

About Southern Nuclear:

Southern Nuclear, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), is a leader among the nation's nuclear energy facility operators and an innovator in advanced nuclear technologies. Southern Nuclear is an essential part of Southern Company's energy portfolio, and its importance will continue to grow as America transitions to a low-carbon energy future. While the company produces clean, safe and reliable nuclear energy, it's also an economic engine powered by quality jobs and community service. 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 that are among the first nuclear units being constructed in the United States in more than 30 years. Southern Nuclear received numerous accolades in 2016 for leadership in the advancement of nuclear energy including the Special Achievement Award by the United States Nuclear Infrastructure Council and the Presidential Citation by the American Nuclear Society. Southern Nuclear also received two of the Nuclear Energy Institute's Top Innovative Practice awards and special recognition for achieving excellence in research and performance. Southern Nuclear's Plant Hatch received the ANS Operations & Power Division's Utility Achievement Award for plant improvements that resulted in a record-setting refueling outage duration. The company's headquarters is in Birmingham, Ala.

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About Southern Company:

Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is America's premier energy company, with 44,000 MW of generating capacity and 1,500 billion cubic feet of combined natural gas consumption and throughput volume serving 9 million electric and gas utility customers through its subsidiaries. The company provides clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy through electric utilities in four states, natural gas distribution utilities in seven states, a competitive generation company serving wholesale customers across America and a nationally recognized provider of customized energy solutions, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and affordable prices that are below the national average. Through an industry-leading commitment to innovation, Southern Company and its subsidiaries are inventing America's energy future by developing the full portfolio of energy resources, including carbon-free nuclear, 21st century coal, natural gas, renewables and energy efficiency, and creating new products and services for the benefit of customers. Southern Company has been named by the U.S. Department of Defense and G.I. Jobs magazine as a top military employer, recognized among the Top 50 Companies for Diversity by DiversityInc, listed by Black Enterprise magazine as one of the 40 Best Companies for Diversity and designated a Top Employer for Hispanics by Hispanic Network. The company has earned a National Award of Nuclear Science and History from the National Atomic Museum Foundation for its leadership and commitment to nuclear development 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 Nuclear

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