Changes possible for Georgia nuke plant

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ATLANTA — The head of the Atlanta-based Southern Co. says an accident at a nuclear plant in Japan could eventually mean changes for one of his company's nuclear plants in Georgia.

Southern Co. CEO Thomas Fanning said Wednesday that the radioactive releases at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan could prompt regulators to require changes at existing U.S. nuclear plants.

Fanning said in New York that he doesn't know specifically what regulators will do. He suggested that new rules would be most likely to affect Plant Hatch near Baxley since it's similar in design to the malfunctioning plant in Japan.

Fanning said it is "logical" that regulators may issue new rules on systems designed to contain radioactive leaks, protect spent nuclear fuel and reevaluate the size of evacuation zones.

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Clemson Engr in GA
Clemson Engr in GA 05/12/11 - 12:41 am
Hatch is a BWR by GE much

Hatch is a BWR by GE much like Japan's; however, the earthquake potential at Baxley's sandy soil in near zero. The chance for a tsunami is near zero -- and if was hit by a tsunami that far inland-- almost 80 miles from the Atlantic -- it would wipe out approximately 20% of the US population and government infrastructure - so Hatch's problems would be secondary.

The issue most likely to require action is for loss of power. The batteries will last for part of a day so the diesel generators can take over; however, the fuel supply safety and adequacy for an extended period are now under consideration due to Japan's inability to flow cooling water due to loss of power.

Other than this, our SoCo nucs are very highly rated in regards to forseeable major natural disasters.

As for Hatch being a BWR -- there isn't much you can do about that. The BWR has more radioactive parts to contain and terefore more difficult to repair in an incident than a PWR which is what is at Vogtle -- which splits up the steam cycle so it has about 1/2 of the "hot" components of a BWR which makes it easier to isolate and control.

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