Safety top priority for Plant Farley - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Safety top priority for Plant Farley

Nuclear energy provides 20 percent of the power used in the United States.

Some of that power is produced here at Plant Farley just across the Chattahoochee River in Columbia, Alabama.

It's so close to south Georgia, we should all be concerned about safety at the plant.

"The plant is designed to safely shut itself down," says Mike Doherty, Plant Farley Communication Specialist.

Nuclear reactor designs are approved based on the location where each plant is built.

They must be prepared to handle the unexpected and meet strict Nuclear Regulatory Commission requirements.

"We are built to withstand a magnitude 5.5 earthquake here but in this plain where we are there are no active faults," says Doherty.

None of Southern Company's nuclear units in Georgia or Alabama even alarmed for seismic activity during Tuesday's earthquake in Virginia.

"All of our units continued to operate at 100% very safely and reliably," says Steve Higginbottom, Southern Company Spokesman.

Plants Vogtle and Hatch are important suppliers of electricity to the state of Georgia.

"They are important units for Georgia Power customers, among lowest price of electricity that we produce, provides tremendous benefits, very reliable, safe electricity for customers for Georgia Power," says Higginbottom.

Two new nuclear units will soon be added to Plant Vogtle.

"Vogtle units 3 and 4 represent a $14 billion investment in the state of Georgia, it is going to be the largest construction project in the history of the state," says Higginbottom.

It will create 3,000 jobs during construction and 800 full time jobs once the units come online.

Higginbottom says they are hoping to have the combined construction and operating license for Vogtle units 3 and 4 by the end of this year.

Copyright 2011 WALB.  All rights reserved.   

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