Vogtle 2 nuclear unit goes offline unexpectedly during weekend

The Southern (NYSE:SO) utility Georgia Power has reported to regulators that the Vogtle 2 nuclear unit went offline unexpectedly over the weekend.

In an event report filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the company said the facility went from 100% power generation to zero early Saturday, March 14.

“Vogtle Unit 2 was operating in Mode 1 at 100% rated thermal power. At 0429 EDT a Unit 2 automatic Reactor Trip and Safety Injection / Steamline Isolation occurred. All systems operated as expected and all control rods fully inserted,” according to the event report.

“The Safety Injection was terminated at 0447 EDT and the emergency operating procedures were exited at 0522 EDT. Unit 2 is stable in Mode 3 with decay heat removal via the Auxiliary Feedwater system and the atmospheric relief valves. A response team is investigating the cause of the event. Unit 1 was unaffected by the event,” according to the report filed with NRC.

“Plant Vogtle Unit 2 automatically shut down Saturday due to a valve that was not operating properly,” said a Southern Nuclear spokesperson. “All plant safety systems operated as designed. The valve was repaired, and operators are safely returning the unit to full power.” 

“For competitive reasons, we cannot say when Unit 2 will return to full power,” the company representative said.

Vogtle Units 1 and 2 are both pressurized water reactors (PWRs) with a generating capacity in excess of 1,100 MW, according to GenerationHub data. The existing units are located at the same Waynesboro, Ga., complex where the Vogtle Units 3 and 4 are currently under construction.

In June 2009, Plant Vogtle’s operating license for the existing units was extended for 20 years. The Vogtle station is held by an ownership group that includes Georgia Power along with Oglethorpe Power, Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG) and Dalton Utilities.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.