Plant Hatch Unit 1 returns to service after loading first of its kind, industry-changing fuel technology

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., March 6, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- On Sunday, March 4, at 11:29 a.m. ET, operators at the Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant safely returned Unit 1 to service following a planned refueling and maintenance outage that began Feb. 4 at 9:28 p.m. ET.

Southern Nuclear Logo (PRNewsfoto/Southern Nuclear)

During the outage, in collaboration with Global Nuclear Fuel, Plant Hatch installed accident tolerant fuel test assemblies developed by the U.S. Department of Energy. This technology has industry-changing safety and efficiency advantages and is the first of its kind to be installed in a commercial nuclear reactor.

"We were thrilled to install the new test assemblies at Plant Hatch," said John Williams, Southern Nuclear nuclear fuel director. "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 last refueling outage for Unit 1 was completed in spring 2016. Each unit at Plant Hatch requires new fuel every 24 months. In addition to refueling the reactor and performing regular maintenance and testing, workers made upgrades to plant systems and components.

Plant Hatch Unit 2 continued to safely generate electricity while Unit 1 was offline and refueling.

"I'm proud of the work we accomplished during this outage and the advancements we made to Unit 1, and I commend our team for their focus on working 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." 

Employees from across the Southern Nuclear fleet assisted Plant Hatch's staff of more than 900 in the refueling effort. More than 800 additional workers from General Electric, Day and Zimmerman, and other partners were on site performing specialized tasks. This supplemental workforce provides economic stimulus to surrounding communities during the planning stages and throughout the outage. Southern Nuclear, a subsidiary of Southern Company, operates Plant Hatch on behalf of Georgia Power and co-owners Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities.

For more information about the accident tolerant fuel test assembly load, read the news release issued by Global Nuclear Fuel.

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 the first nuclear units being constructed in the United States in more than 30 years. In 2017, Southern Nuclear won a Technology Transfer award from the Electric Power Research Institute, an Honor Roll award for superior performance in the global boiling water reactor fleet from GE/Hitachi, and the Drivers of Success Award from GT STRUDL. The company's headquarters is in Birmingham, Ala. Twitter: @SouthernNuclear; Facebook:;

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

For further information: Southern Nuclear Communications, 205-992-5395, Twitter: @SouthernNuclear, Facebook:,

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