Vogtle reactor taken offline to refuel

Plant Vogtle’s Unit 1 was taken offline over the weekend and will remain out of operation while crews complete a refuel.


According to a release from Vogtle operator Southern Company, the unit was switched off at 5 a.m. Sunday. Each of the two currently operational units at Vogtle must be refueled every 18 months, according to a company spokesman.

“Safety is our number one priority during the refueling outage,” said Keith Taber, site vice president for Vogtle units 1 and 2.

The refuel outage brings a reinforced workforce to complete tasks associated with the unit’s time offline. Southern Company takes advantage of the downtime to complete maintenance, testing and upgrades which bring in more than 1,000 additional workers. In a press release, the company said the additional workers serve as a temporary boost to the surrounding economies.

The last time Unit 1 was refueled was in late 2015 and officials began planning for this closure more than a year ahead of time. It was not immediately clear how long the refuel and maintenance activities would take.

“A safe and successful outage is achieved through the focus of the entire organization – our employees and our supporting partners. The station has planned for this refueling outage for over a year,” Tabor said. “This planning ensures the activities are coordinated to ensure safety is maintained at the highest level.”

The company said Unit 2 will continue its generation mission until routine maintenance and refueling are complete at Unit 1.

Reach Thomas gardiner at (706) 823-3339 or thomas.gardiner@augustachronicle.com.