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Friday, March 18, 2011 - 1:40pm

Nuclear Inspections Coming To GA

Members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are planning to inspect all 104 U.S. nuclear plants including two in Georgia.

President Obama ordered the comprehensive safety review in response to last week's 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami which damaged several Japanese nuclear reactors.

Plant Hatch in the southeastern part of the state uses the same boiling water technology as the troubled Fukushima Daiichi plant now facing meltdown in Japan.

Both Hatch and Plant Vogtle near Augusta use backup systems like the one that failed at Fukushima after the power was knocked out.

The systems prevent the reactor core from melting during an outage by keeping water flowing over nuclear fuel rods.

"In most cases they are large diesel generators that could survive most earthquakes in areas," says NRC spokesman Roger Hannah. "However it appears, at least initially [in] what we learned about Japan, that their diesel generators may have been damaged or the fuel supplies may have been damaged."

The CEO of Southern Company, which owns both of Georgia's nuclear plants, say he doesn't expect delay on construction of two new reactors at Plant Vogtle.

Company spokesperson Valerie Hendrickson says they welcome the inspections.

"We fully support a safety review and learning lessons from these events in Japan," says Hendrickson.

Hannah says the NRC is still working out details of the inspections and will announce a timeframe in the near future.

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