Unit 2 of the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant near Waynesboro, Georgia, has safely resumed generating electricity following completion of a scheduled refueling and maintenance outage. The outage duration was 17 days, 5 hours and 36 minutes – a Southern Nuclear fleet record.
Plant operators safely took the unit offline Sunday, Sept. 17, at 4:57 a.m. EDT, and it resumed electricity production Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 10:18 a.m. EDT. 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.
The most significant upgrade for this outage was the installation of a digital controls system for the main turbine generator and associated equipment. This new Mark VIe system from General Electric replaces the plant’s original analog control mechanisms. Plant Vogtle’s control room operators are now able to monitor and manipulate multiple turbine systems via touchscreens and keyboards. The new system has redundant backup systems which provide additional levels of safety beyond those that existed in the original design. This advanced digital controls system was installed on Plant Vogtle Unit 1 in the spring 2017 refueling outage.
“Safety is our top priority, and our team is to be commended for exceeding the safety and efficiency expectations for this outage and achieving record-breaking milestones,” said Darin Myers, site vice president for Vogtle units 1 and 2. “The work performed during this outage is a significant investment in our facility. It enhances our ability to produce clean, safe, affordable and reliable nuclear energy for the next 18 months and for many years to come.”
Southern Company subsidiary Southern Nuclear operates Plant Vogtle on behalf of Georgia Power and the plant’s other Georgia co-owners. Employees from across the Southern Nuclear fleet as well as nearly 1,200 additional workers from Westinghouse, General Electric, Day & Zimmermann, Williams Corporation and other companies came to the plant to assist the site employees in completing the multiple tasks required to ensure the unit will run safely and reliably for the next 18 months.
These additional workers provide considerable economic stimulus to surrounding communities during their stay in the area.
The last refueling outage for Unit 2 was completed in spring 2016. Unit 1 continued to safely generate electricity while Unit 2 was offline for refueling.