On Oct. 1, Unit 1 of the Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant in Alabama began a planned refueling and maintenance outage, said plant operator Southern Nuclear in an Oct. 3 statement.
In addition to refueling the reactor and performing regular maintenance and testing, workers will make upgrades to plant systems and components to enhance efficiency and reliability.
“The key to a safe and successful outage is our outstanding employees and supporting partners,” said Site Vice President Cheryl Gayheart. “I am proud of the preparations we have made, and our entire team is ready to accomplish this refueling outage safely using our expertise and teamwork.”
Plant Farley’s operators were making final preparations to begin the outage when the unit automatically shut down due to a malfunction of a main steam isolation valve. The safety system operated as designed, the plant was stable and the team established shut down conditions in support of the outage, the company added.
Each unit at Plant Farley requires new fuel every 18 months. The most recent refueling outage for Unit 1 was completed in spring 2015. Employees from across the Southern Nuclear fleet are assisting Farley’s staff of nearly 900 in the refueling effort. More than 800 additional alliance partners and vendors are on site performing specialized tasks. Farley Unit 2 continues to generate electricity while Unit 1 is offline and refueling.
Farley is located near Dothan in southeast Alabama. Construction of the two-unit plant started in 1970. Unit 1 began commercial operation in December 1977. Unit 2 began commercial operation in July 1981. Each unit is capable of generating 900 MW for a total capacity of about 1,800 MW. The plant is powered by pressurized water reactors manufactured by Westinghouse.
Southern Nuclear is a subsidiary of Southern Co. (NYSE: SO). Southern Nuclear operates a total of six units for Southern Co. subsidiaries 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.