October 10, 2018 / 3:07 PM / 8 months ago

Southern reduces Alabama Farley nuke plant ahead of Hurricane Michael

(Reuters) - Southern Co (SO.N) said on Wednesday it is reducing power at Units 1 and 2 at the Farley nuclear power plant in Alabama as a precautionary safety measure in case Hurricane Michael should reach the plant with hurricane-force winds.

The company said in a release the proactive steps will allow station personnel to continue monitoring the storm’s progress and shut the plant if necessary.

Michael is a Category 4 storm expected to hit the Florida Panhandle later Wednesday with maximum sustained winds of 145 miles (233 kilometers) per hour.

All nuclear plants, which are built to withstand hurricane-force winds, have rules in place that require they shut some period of time before hurricane-force winds are expected to reach the site.

It is uncertain at this time if the winds from Michael are expected to still be at hurricane force when they reach the Farley site.

The 1,751-megawatt Farley plant is near Dothan in southeast Alabama about 90 miles (150 km) north of the Gulf Coast.

One megawatt can power about 1,000 U.S. homes.

The two reactors at the plant were operating at or near full power earlier on Wednesday.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Steve Orlofsky

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