Georgia Power Generation Facilities Prepared for Hurricane Irma

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Monday, September 11th, 2017

Georgia Power's power plants statewide are prepared to maintain safe generation of energy for millions of customers across the state during and following Hurricane Irma. In addition, the company is prepared to respond to power outages that may occur due to the storm as quickly and safely as possible with additional resources available as part of the Southern Company system, which includes multiple electric and gas companies serving more than 9 million customers.

Electric generating plants, including coal, natural gas and nuclear plants, are built to be robust and highly secure.  Power plants incorporate multiple layers of protection including structural strength, highly trained operators and security forces, and proven emergency plans.  

U.S. nuclear plants' safety systems are designed to withstand significant hazard events, including hurricane force winds and flooding. Georgia's two nuclear plants, Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro and Plant Hatch near Vidalia, are equipped with numerous redundant safety systems to prevent or respond to emergencies, including backup power resources such as DC battery banks and diesel generators. Plants Vogtle and Hatch also feature onsite FLEX domes which are designed to withstand an earthquake, a direct hit by a tornado, or airborne flying objects during severe weather. The FLEX domes house portable generators, pumps, communication equipment, refueling equipment, and other resources that might be needed if the power supply to the plant were interrupted for an extended period of time. Additionally, both plants have comprehensive emergency preparedness plans in place developed in accordance with federal requirements by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and other oversight agencies.  

At the construction site of the two new nuclear units at Plant Vogtle, teams are conducting walk downs of the site to identify and secure potential hazards that could result from heavy winds.  Crane booms are being lowered, pumps have been delivered to help mitigate flooding in critical areas, and weather plans are in place to ensure the site and employees remain safe before, during and after the storm.

The Mutual Assistance Network

Georgia Power is part of a national mutual assistance network consisting of dozens of utilities from around the country. As part of this partnership, Georgia Power line crews provide assistance to other utilities when service to their customers is interrupted due to severe weather and have travelled as far away as New York to assist with restoration following Superstorm Sandy and New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Georgia Power is also able to tap into reinforcements when needed to restore power quickly to Georgia customers. The company is holding all Georgia Power resources in Georgia in advance of Hurricane Irma and is in touch with other mutual assistance network utilities to ensure coordination and access to additional resources if needed following the storm.

Just last year, Hurricane Matthew, one of the strongest, most destructive hurricanes to hit the Georgia coast in more than a century, broke or damaged approximately 1,000 power poles and more than 3,500 trees brought down nearly 120 miles of wire along the Georgia coast. Georgia Power restored power to more than 338,000 customers impacted by Hurricane Matthew quickly and safely by fully deploying company resources and leveraging the mutual assistance network in the week following the storm.