The commissioners received details about the incident in Japan at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant and about the integrity and
design of the nuclear power reactors operated by Georgia Power and Southern Company near Waynesboro and Baxley, Georgia.
The commission wants the public to know it is monitoring the information coming in from Japan and sends its sympathies to those afflicted.
The commission also reiterated its ongoing commitment to ensure the health and safety of Georgia's citizens, noting that all nuclear plants in Georgia are operating safely. Plant Vogtle Unit 1 is offline and in a scheduled refueling outage.
As with every U.S. nuclear power plant, Southern Company's plants Hatch and Vogtle were designed, licensed and built to endure environmental hazards and disasters.
In addition, the commission does not expect the events unfolding in Japan to have significant impacts on the licensing and construction of two new units at Plant Vogtle. The co-owners remain committed to the projects and expected commercial operating dates for Units 3 and 4 remain 2016 and 2017 respectively.
The Commission points out that there are a number of key differences between the Vogtle plant site near Waynesboro and those in Japan. For example, Japan is in a high seismic activity area whereas the potential for an earthquake near the Vogtle site, as well as Plant Hatch, is significantly lower, and the magnitude of any earthquake is likewise much lower.
The Vogtle site was evaluated for the most severe earthquake that might occur once in a 10,000 year period. The reactor design selected for AP1000 design greatly exceeds that requirement for the Vogtle site.
The AP1000 relies on passive safety systems that rely on gravity, natural circulation, convection, compressed gas and condensation to
maintain safe operation and shut down safely. Many of the enhanced features of the AP1000 design are specifically intended to eliminate the dependence upon mechanical and electrical support systems to keep the fuel cool during an event.
The Commission will be providing additional information on the Georgia
Power reactors as it becomes available.
For more information on the Commission, visit our web site at www.psc.state.ga.us.