NRC: Ga. nuclear reactor could soon restart

Associated Press
FILE - In this April 28, 2010 file photo, steam rises from the cooling towers of nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle, in Waynesboro, Ga. The nuclear reactor at Plant Vogtle in eastern Georgia has been taken out of service until authorities determine why it unexpectedly shut down, Thursday, April 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)
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FILE - In this April 28, 2010 file photo, steam rises from the cooling towers of nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle, in Waynesboro, Ga. The nuclear reactor at Plant Vogtle in eastern Georgia has been taken out of service until authorities determine why it unexpectedly shut down, Thursday, April 21, 2011.

A nuclear reactor that unexpectedly shut down in eastern Georgia could resume operations as early as Friday after the utility replaced electronics equipment, federal regulators said.

The Atlanta-based Southern Co. has told the government it is on a path to restarting the Unit 1 reactor at Plant Vogtle, near Waynesboro, said Joey Ledford, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The utility would not confirm the timeline for restarting the reactor, citing competitive pressure.

The NRC and utility officials said the reactor shut down unexpectedly Wednesday and there have been no leaks, damage or other safety concerns reported. Unexpected shutdowns of commercial reactors happen occasionally each year.

Southern Co. spokeswoman Carrie Phillips said the reactor shut down after a breaker opened, but it was not immediately clear why that happened. No other malfunctions have been reported at the plant. The shutdown will not affect electricity supply to customers.

The company has replaced the breaker and related electronics and installed monitoring equipment to help determine the root cause of the shutdown, Ledford said.

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