BYRON, Ill. - As the snow melts and spring peeks around the corner, another welcome sight is upon the area - a surplus of workers headed to Byron Generating Station for its refueling outage.
More than $3 million is being spent with local vendors in support of the Byron Station Unit 1 refueling and maintenance outage that began at 11 p.m. on Sunday, March 13. Add to that an influx of outage workers, and it is sure that many of the regions' businesses will see an increase in customers.
During the outage, the station will employ the talents and expertise of more than 1,600 additional workers - many of whom are from local union halls. Other workers are from nearby Exelon Nuclear sites and specialty vendors who travel to the area for the outage.
"The additional support from our temporary workers and local vendors is a vital part of our overall refueling outage plan," said Byron Station Site Vice President Tim Tulon. "The work performed during the outage will enhance the station's ability to provide reliable, carbon-free electricity for many years to come."
Residents should be aware of the increased traffic in towns near the plant, which is a welcome challenge to have for those looking for an economic boost.
"The businesses in general have noticed an increase in business and new faces," said Byron Mayor Chris Millard. "We are fortunate to have this great partnership with Byron Generating Station."
Oregon is one of the other towns that sees an uptick in business.
"Oregon area lodgings are always at a premium during the refueling outages," said Marcia Heuer, executive director of the Oregon Chamber of Commerce. "We are more than happy to have the extra workers in town."
In addition to replacing about one-third of the reactor's fuel, workers will perform more than 10,000 inspections and maintenance activities on a variety of plant components and systems. Many of the activities performed during the maintenance outage cannot be done while the unit is operating.
While the unit is down, residents should be aware that one of the cooling towers will not produce any water vapor cloud. This is normal during a shutdown. Byron's Unit 2 will continue to supply clean electricity to Exelon customers during the Unit 1 outage. With both units at full power, the site produces 2,286 megawatts net, enough electricity for 2.3 million homes.