Skip to main content.
Plant Farley Facility

Plant Farley

The Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant, is owned by Alabama Power and operated by Southern Nuclear. It is one of three nuclear facilities in the Southern Company system. Plant Farley began commercial operation in 1977 and now produces roughly 19 percent of Alabama Power’s electricity. More than 800 people oversee the plant's operations 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Columbia, Alabama

Reactor type:
Westinghouse 3-loop
Pressurized Water Reactor

Number of units:

Power output:
Approximately 1,800 megawatts

How It Works

how Plant Farley works

Who was Joseph Farley?

Joseph Farley served as Alabama Power CEO from 1969-1989. He led the company through an aggressive construction program to ensure Alabama Power could meet the growing energy demands of Alabama and sustain economic growth in the state. As part of that effort, Farley was a leader in the development of nuclear power in the 1970s.

For 20 years, Farley led Alabama Power through several formidable trials, including a series of energy and financial crises, rate case setbacks, construction work cancellations and prolonged attacks by political powerhouse George Wallace. With iron intellect, courage and dogged perseverance, Farley saved the company from bankruptcy, resolved its political and regulatory problems and restored its operating and fiscal health.

A native of Birmingham, Farley attended Birmingham-Southern College and received an engineering degree from Princeton University in 1948. After earning his law degree from Harvard University in 1952, Farley began his career with Southern Company upon joining the law firm of Martin, Turner, Blakey & Bouldin as an associate member. His duties included working with Alabama Power on various legal and regulatory matters.

In 1965, Farley was elected executive vice president and a member of the Board of Directors of Alabama Power, responsible for the company's governmental and public affairs activities. He became company president in 1969 and assumed the responsibilities of chief executive officer in 1970.

After leaving Alabama Power in 1989, Farley became executive vice president-Nuclear for Southern Company. In that position, he guided the formation of the nuclear subsidiary, Southern Nuclear Operating Co., where he served as president and CEO. During his time at Southern Nuclear, Farley was often called upon to present testimony to Congress on nuclear-related issues. His expertise was acknowledged and sought after by regulatory bodies, legislators and utility executives.

On the national level, Farley became one of the nuclear industry's most influential leaders. He chaired the board of the Institute for Nuclear Power Operations (the industry's safety oversight arm), helped form the World Association of Nuclear Operations, chaired the American Nuclear Energy Council  and received the nuclear industry's top honor, the William S. Lee Award.

For Joseph Farley’s leadership, accomplishments and lasting legacy on Alabama Power, Southern Nuclear and Southern Company, the Plant Farley is named in his honor.

Our Neighbors

Schedule a Site Visit

If you would like to schedule a site visit or informative presentation for your school group, civic group or other group, please call the Farley Energy Education Center staff at 334-661-2861.

Stay Prepared

Southern Nuclear’s top priority is the health and safety of our plant neighbors. If you reside within the 10-mile emergency planning zone, we want you to be informed about the types of emergencies that can occur, how you can stay informed and how to protect your family.