Tue., March 15, 2011 4:17pm (EDT)

State Nuclear Regulators Monitor Japan
By Noel Brown
Updated: 3 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
Regulatory officials in Georgia are trying to glean lessons from Japan’s ongoing nuclear crisis. Members of the Public Service Commission met yesterday with officials from Southern Company. The PSC asked the company to prove its two nuclear plants can handle disaster. (Photo by Noel Brown)
Regulatory officials in Georgia are trying to glean lessons from Japan’s ongoing nuclear crisis. Members of the Public Service Commission met yesterday with officials from Southern Company. The PSC asked the company to prove its two nuclear plants can handle disaster. (Photo by Noel Brown)
Southern Company’s Plant Hatch in southeast Georgia uses the same type of boiling water reactors as the Fukishima plant now facing meltdown in Japan.

Public Service Commission officials met with the energy giant to make sure backup systems at Hatch would not fail during an earthquake like the one that hit Japan last week.

Another concern was whether two reactors proposed for Plant Vogtle near Augusta could withstand a quake.

Southern Company spokesperson Christy Ihrig says all the needed safeguards are in place. And she says Georgia is different from Japan.

"Japan is seismically very active and the sites here in Georgia, both our Plant Hatch and Plant Vogtle sites, they are not," says Ihrig.

Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald says the commission will keep an eye on Japan but that he doubts the events there will slow down Georgia’s nuclear plans.

"We are on top of it and we are going to continue to monitor hourly as to what is happening so that we will be on good solid ground with our projects here in Georgia," McDonald says.

Southern Company's CEO says the events in Japan shouldn’t affect Plant Vogtle's construction.

But the Nuclear Regulatory Commission could delay the project until it's clearer what failed at the Japanese plants.