Southern Company subsidiary Southern Nuclear said this week it had notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) of its intent to seek subsequent license renewal (SLR) for both units at the Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant, located in Baxley, Georgia.
The intent is to renew the plant’s operating license for an additional 20 years. The company said it submitted a letter Aug. 31, the company informed the NRC that it expects to submit the application in 2025, which would initiate the process to help ensure the continued delivery of 1,848 MW of carbon-free generation.
Plant Hatch is co-owned by Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power Corporation, Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and Dalton Utilities. Southern Nuclear operates the nuclear units on behalf of the co-owners.
In July 2022, the Georgia Public Service Commission approved Georgia Power’s request to begin the multi-year process to extend Plant Hatch’s license as part of the company’s 2022 Integrated Resource Plan. If approved by the NRC, the SLR would extend Southern Nuclear’s licenses to operate the plant on behalf of the co-owners to 2054 (Unit 1) and 2058 (Unit 2). A decision on license renewal from the NRC would be expected in the late 2020s. The current Hatch licenses are set to expire in 2034 (Unit 1) and 2038 (Unit 2).
Nationally, nuclear generation currently produces more than 50 percent of the country’s carbon-free electricity, as it is the only carbon-free technology running safely year-round. Together with the state's other nuclear facility, Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro, Plant Hatch currently provides well over 20 percent of Georgia's electricity.
Plant Hatch also employs 900 people with additional contract workers supporting refueling outages and major project work each year. Making its case for an extension on a social level, the company said Plant Hatch and its employees have provided expansive community support through volunteerism and partnerships with local nonprofits and agencies.
Southern Nuclear operates six units for Alabama Power and Georgia Power and is currently serving in a lead role in the construction of Plant Vogtle Units 3 & 4.
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