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Toombs Commission Hears Report on Plant Hatch

A Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspector updated Toombs County commissioners about operations at Southern Nuclear Plant Hatch during the commission’s regular session on February 16.

Richard Smith has served as Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) Senior Resident Inspector (RI) since October 2020 at Southern Nuclear’s Hatch power plant near Baxley. Smith, along with the other RI at Plant Hatch, John Hickman, is not an employee of Southern Nuclear, but of the federal government.

RIs serve as the agency’s “eyes and ears at the facility, conducting inspections, monitoring major work projects and interacting with plant workers and the public.” (www.nrc. org). Smith described his work as the nuclear police: he issues violation tickets on activities that, if left unchecked, could result in more serious public safety issues. The inspectors with the NRC represent the American people who do not have the technical knowledge, nor can they observe at the plants, to assess nuclear operations.

Smith reported that an inspection assessment completed in 2020 found seven violations at Plant Hatch. These violations were not severe and continued from page

the plant has since been deemed safe to continue operation. New management at the plant is intent on maintaining high standards for operations, Smith explained.

Smith is available for the Commission to contact him at any time with questions about operations at the plant. He is also available to speak at civic clubs and public gatherings so citizens can gain more understanding of nuclear plant safety.

Chamber of Commerce and Development Authority Director Michele Johnson invited the Commission to attend three school related ribbon cuttings. The new Toombs County Board of Education building on Bulldog Road Open House was held on Friday, February 19th. A highlight of this event was the coffee bar featuring the Lyons Primary School Autism Class. Johnson spoke highly of how well this class serves coffee at community events. Donations at the coffee bar will help the class pay for community activities.

The Chamber will also support a double ribbon cutting at Montgomery County Schools on Monday, March 1 at 1:45 p.m., first at Brogden’s Brick Boosters at Brogden Field, and then at Curtis Ryals Track & Field at William Mayes Dobbins Athletic Complex, both on Dobbins Street in Mount Vernon.

Johnson reported that contractors for Robin Buildings are completing punch lists at the company’s new complex at Toombs Corporate Center. Equipment installation and transitioning of storage building production to the new site will occur over the next few months.

In other business, the Commission approved: • Appointment of Mrs.

Billie Jean Davis to the Toombs County Library Board through December 2023.

• Considered a request

to close Niederriter Road. The only impact of closing this road will be on EMS service. The resident will maintain the route for emergency access. The Commission approved activating the road closure so that public notice can be rendered before approval of final closure.

• Approved emergency

repair of Old River Road, to prevent further deterioration, by McLendon Enterprises for $25,650, paid from the Roads Department operating budget.

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