After refueling, Hatch 1 nuclear unit returns with upgrades

Unit 1 of the Edwin I. Hatch Electric Generating Plant near Baxley, Ga., has safely resumed generating electricity following completion of a scheduled refueling and maintenance outage.

Plant operators safely took the unit offline on Feb. 8. Electricity production resumed on Friday, March 4 at 7:45 p.m. ET. As Unit 1 returns to full power, operators will perform a sequence of fuel rod pattern adjustments. Fuel rod pattern adjustments are required in boiling water reactors following deep down powers and outages to ensure the most efficient use of nuclear fuel.

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.

During the outage, employees completed the requirements for FLEX, the nuclear industry’s flexible, diverse coping strategy to protect U.S. plants against extreme events.

Employees from across the Southern Nuclear fleet assisted Hatch’s staff of more than 900 in the refueling effort. Approximately 800 additional workers from General Electric, Day and Zimmerman, and other partners performed specialized tasks. These supplemental workers provided economic stimulus to surrounding communities during their stay in the area.

The last refueling outage for Unit 1 was completed in spring 2014. Hatch Unit 2 continued to safely generate electricity while Unit 1 was offline for the refueling.