THIS IS A DRILL for a GENERAL EMERGENCY - Thursday, February 28, 2018 PLANT VOGTLE has declared a general emergency.
For information about activities and conditions in the area surrounding Plant Vogtle:
- Call the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) at 1-800-879-4362 or 404-635-7200
For information on current conditions at Plant Vogtle:
- Call our recorded information line at 1-888-847-1186
The collection and analysis of samples of air to measure its radioactivity or to detect the presence of radioactive substances.
Positively charged particles emitted by certain radioactive materials. The most energetic alpha particle will generally fail to penetrate the skin.
Anticipated Transient Without Scram (ATWS)
The basic component of all matter. The smallest part of an element that has all the chemical properties of that element. Atoms are made up of protons, neutrons and electrons.
Ratio of the number of hours that a plant is available for operation in a given period of time (for example, monthly or annually) to the total number of hours in that same period.
The radiation in the natural environment, including cosmic rays and radiation from the naturally radioactive elements both outside and inside the bodies of people, animals and plants. It is also called natural radiation.
A charged particle emitted from the nucleus of an atom during radioactive decay. A beta particle is a high-energy electron. Beta particles are easily stopped by a thin sheet of metal.
A mass of absorbing material placed around a reactor or radioactive source to reduce the radiation to a level that is safe for human beings.
Boiling Water Reactor (BWR)
A nuclear reactor in which water is boiled in the reactor vessel; the resulting steam drives a turbine to generate electricity.BoronA chemical element that absorbs neutrons, thus controlling or stopping a nuclear chain reaction.
Thick conductor for collecting electric currents and distributing them to outgoing feeders.
The amount of electricity produced by a given unit over a specified length of time (usually a year), expressed as a percentage of what the unit would have produced if it could have operated at full power, 24 hours a day, over that length of time. For example, a plant operating at full power for a full year has a capacity factor of 100 percent. At half power for a full year or full power for a half year, its capacity factor is 50 percent.
A self-sustaining series of events that occurs when a neutron splits an atom and releases other neutrons, with at least one of those neutrons causing another fission to occur.
Circulating Water System
A system that provides cooling water to the main condensers.
The outer covering, usually stainless steel or Zircaloy (a zirconium alloy), in which the nuclear fuel is sealed. The cladding serves as a barrier by preventing the release of radioactivity into the coolant.
A reactor condition in which the coolant temperature has been reduced below 200°F and the pressure has been reduced to below 200 psi.
A device used in power plants to extract waste heat from steam.
This is the large airtight concrete building around a reactor to confine fission products that otherwise might be released to the atmosphere in the event of an accident.
Deposit of radioactive material in any place where it is not desired, particularly where its presence may be harmful.
A rod, plate or tube containing a material that readily absorbs neutrons. By absorbing neutrons, a control rod prevents the neutrons from causing further fission, thus controlling the power of a nuclear reactor.
The operations center of a nuclear power plant from which the plant can be monitored and controlled.
A fluid, usually water, used to cool a nuclear reactor and transfer heat energy. The water also moderates, or slows down, neutrons so they will be able to cause fission.
The central portion of a nuclear reactor containing the fuel elements.
The point at which a nuclear reactor is just sustaining a chain reaction.
The smallest amount of fuel necessary to sustain a chain reaction.
The heat produced by radioactive atoms in a reactor after the reactor has been shut down.
The removal of radioactive contaminants from surfaces or equipment, as by cleaning and washing with water or chemicals.
Design Basis Accident (DBA)
In general, this refers to conditions that a piece of equipment or system is designed to withstand. The most important DBA is the loss of coolant accident (LOCA).
A device, such as a film badge, which can be worn and used to measure the radiation exposure a person receives over a period of time.
The containment vessel enclosing the reactor and re-circulation system and forming part of the primary pressure suppression system.
Emergency Core Cooling Systems (ECCS)
A series of backup safety systems designed to dump thousands of gallons of cooling water into the reactor, thus preventing a core meltdown in the event the normal core cooling system fails.
A light-tight package of photographic film worn like a badge by workers in nuclear industry or research. It is used to measure possible exposure to ionizing radiation. The absorbed dose can be accurately calculated by the degree of film darkening caused by the irradiation.
The splitting of a heavy nucleus into two parts (which are nuclei of lighter elements) accompanied by the release of a large amount of energy and generally one or more neutrons.
The atoms formed when uranium is split in a nuclear reactor. Most fission products are radioactive.
The pathways by which any material (such as radioactive material from fallout) passes from the first absorbing organism through plants and animals to man.
A cylindrical rod, 10 to 14 feet long, filled with a stack of fuel pellets containing enriched uranium.
High-energy, short-wavelength, electromagnetic radiation similar to x-rays. Gamma radiation is released when fission occurs. Gamma rays are very penetrating and are best shielded by dense materials such as lead.
An instrument for detecting and measuring beta and gamma radiation. Sometimes called a frisker.
The length of time in which any radioactive substance will lose one-half of its radioactivity. The half-life of a substance may vary in length from a fraction of a second to many years.
A device that transfers heat from one material, such as water or gas, to another substance with no direct contact between the two materials. Two examples are steam generators and feedwater heaters.
A device that combines hydrogen with oxygen, producing water. In this manner, a hydrogen recombiner is able to separate hydrogen from other gases.
Ingestion Exposure Pathway (50-mile EPZ)
Area within a radius of approximately 50 miles from the nuclear reactor site. The principal exposure from this pathway would be from ingestion of contaminated water or foods such as milk, fresh vegetables or fish.
Any radiation displacing electrons from atoms or molecules, thereby producing ions. Examples: alpha, beta, and gamma radiation.
Different forms of the same chemical element that are distinguished by having different numbers of neutrons in the nucleus. Almost identical chemical properties exist between isotopes of a particular element. A single element may have many isotopes; for example, hydrogen has three isotopes; protium, deuterium and tritium.
One thousand watts, a unit of power. Most electric plants express their generating capacity in kilowatts or megawatts (1,000,000 watts).
A unit of energy consumption that equals 1,000 watts used for one hour. For example, ten 100-watt light bulbs burned for one hour use one kilowatt-hour of electricity.
LOCA (Loss of Coolant Accident)
A LOCA can result from an opening in the primary cooling system, such as a pipe break or a stuck-open relief valve (as occurred at Three Mile Island). At the first sign of a LOCA, the reactor would shut down automatically. Although the reactor is shut down, the fuel assemblies would continue to generate heat, so cooling water must continue to circulate through the reactor. If there is an interruption in the main flow of cooling water because a LOCA has occurred, then backup cooling water will be needed. This is provided by a series of redundant safety systems and is designed to provide enough cooling water for possible pipe breaks of all sizes, including an instantaneous break of a main cooling line, the largest type of break.
A measure of electrical power equal to 1 million watts.
A buildup of heat in the core caused by insufficient cooling, which causes the fuel to melt.
A unit of radiation dosage equal to one-thousandth of a rem. An individual member of the public can receive up to 500 millirems per year according to federal standards. This limit doesn't include radiation received for medical treatment, nor does the limit include the 300 millirems people receive annually from background radiation.
The coolant (usually water) in a reactor is circulated without pumping, that is, by natural convection resulting from the different densities of relative cold and heated portions.
Neutron (Symbol “n”)
An uncharged elementary particle with a mass slightly greater than that of the proton and found in the nucleus of every atom heavier than hydrogen. Neutrons sustain the fission chain reaction in a nuclear reactor.
Gases that do not combine chemically with other materials. The noble gases are helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon, and radon.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
The independent civilian agency of the federal government with the authority to regulate, inspect and oversee the nuclear industry to assure the safe operation of United States nuclear power plants.
A cloud (or imaginary cloud, for ease of description) of airborne radioactive particles moving away from a nuclear plant in a direction and at a speed determined by the prevailing wind.
Plume Exposure Pathway (10-mile EPZ)
For planning purposes, the area within a 10 mile radius surrounding a nuclear plant site. The principal exposure sources from this pathway are: (a) whole body exposure to gamma radiation from the plume and from deposited material, and (b) inhalation exposure from the passing radioactive plume.
Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR)
A reactor in which water, heated by nuclear energy, is kept at high pressure to prevent the water from boiling. Steam is then generated in a secondary loop.
A high-strength tank containing steam and water used to control the pressure of the reactor coolant, or primary loop in a PWR.
A closed system of piping that provides cooling water to the reactor and transfers heat energy to the secondary loop.
A subatomic particle with a positive electric charge.
Energy in the form of rays or particles given off by certain atoms as they go from an unstable to a stable state.
Any accessible area in which the level of radiation is such that a major portion of an individual's body could receive in any one hour a dose in excess of 5 millirem or in any five consecutive days a dose in excess of 100 millirem.
The characteristic of the nuclei of some unstable elements (such as uranium) of spontaneously emitting radiation.
Radiological Control Area
An area in which a worker may be exposed to radiation or radioactive material under supervised/controlled conditions.
Reactor Coolant Pump
A piece of equipment designed to move the coolant through the primary loop so the heat generated in the core can be transferred to steam.
The central portion of a nuclear reactor containing nuclear fuel, water and control mechanisms as well as the supporting structure.
An automatic procedure by which control rods are rapidly inserted into the core of a reactor to stop the chain reaction.
A cylindrical, steel vessel that contains the core, control rods, coolant and structures that support the core.
Each of the safety systems in a nuclear plant has at least one backup system that automatically takes over if the first system should fail for any reason. Since there are at least two systems to do the same thing, they are called redundant.
A tank designed to condense and store excess steam and water discharged through the pressurizer relief valves on top of the pressurizer.
A valve that automatically opens to release steam and prevent excessive pressure buildup.
REM (Roentgen Equivalent Man)
A unit of radiation exposure that indicates the potential biological effect on human cells.
Any area to which access is controlled by the licensee for purposes of protection of individuals from exposure to radiation or radioactive materials.
An assessment of the design and performance of structures, systems and components with respect to risk to the public during accident conditions. The analysis also looks at ability to prevent accidents and mitigate consequences of accidents should they occur.
To shut the reactor down fast.
Secondary Loop (PWR Only)
A system of piping that carries non-radioactive water. Water in the secondary loop absorbs heat from water in the primary loop through the steam generator tubes, is boiled, and, as steam, is used to spin the turbines.
Material, such as lead or concrete, used to protect workers and equipment from exposure to radiation.
Spent (Depleted) Fuel
Nuclear reactor fuel that has been used to the extent that it can no longer effectively sustain a chain reaction.Spent Fuel PoolA pit constructed of reinforced concrete used for the on-site underwater storage of spent fuel assemblies after their removal from the reactor core.
A chimney used to disperse any gaseous radioactive releases from reactor operation.
The ventilation air, etc., discharged from the various buildings via the stack.
Standby Gas Treatment System
System that takes air from the reactor building, purifies it, and releases it to the environment. This system is designed to be used after release of fission products in the reactor building.
Steam Generator (PWR Only)
A piece of equipment within which heat is transferred from the primary loop to the secondary loop without the water of the two systems actually touching.
A steel pressure vessel below and encircling the drywell containing the suppression pool and air space.
A deviation from normal operating conditions that usually can be controlled by minor adjustments without shutting down the reactor. A significant transient can result in reactor scram and/or activation of emergency systems. If the protection systems fail to shut down the reactor as required by a significant transient, it is considered an anticipated transient without scram (ATWS).
A radioactive element with the atomic number 92 and, as found in natural ores, an average atomic weight of approximately 238. The two principal natural isotopes are Uranium-235 (0.7 percent of natural uranium), which is fissionable, and Uranium-238 (99.3 percent of natural uranium). Uranium is the basic fuel of a nuclear reactor.
Equipment and materials (from nuclear operations) that are radioactive and for which there is no further use. Wastes generally are classified as high-level (having radioactivity concentrations of hundreds to thousands of curies per gallon or cubic foot), low-level (in the range of one microcurie per gallon or cubic foot), or intermediate (between these extremes).
Whole Body Counter
A device used to identify and measure the radiation in the body of human beings and animals. It is heavily shielded against background radiation and uses ultra sensitive detectors and electronic equipment.
Georgia Power ………………...45.7%
Oglethorpe Power …………….30.0%
Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia ..22.7%
Dalton Utilities ……….…………………........1.6%
Southern Nuclear Operating Company
Size of Site
Approximate Number Employed at Vogtle
Burke County, Georgia, approximately 34 miles southeast of Augusta on the Savannah River. Nearest city is Waynesboro, GA.
$8.87 Billion (including financing)
Unit 1 - 1987
Unit 2 - 1989
Pressurized Water Reactor
Approximately 1,225 megawatts/unit
Nuclear Steam Supply System
Westinghouse Electric Company
General Electric Company
Vertical cylindrical, post-tensioned concrete structure with a dome and a flat base. It houses reactor, reactor coolant system and other Nuclear Steam Supply System (NSSS) components. The interior is lined with carbon steel plate. Concrete shields the reactor and other NSSS components. It is 140 feet in diameter and 226 feet high. Minimum vertical wall thickness is 3 feet 9 inches. Minimum dome thickness is 3 feet and 6 inches with a foundation thickness of 10 feet.