Braceville, Ill. - More than 1,300 highly trained nuclear workers are in the area to support Braidwood Generating Station's Unit 2 refueling outage that began early this morning. Scheduled refueling outages allow workers to perform detailed inspections, equipment upgrades and maintenance work that cannot be completed while the units are operating.
The temporary workers support the station for three to six weeks at a payroll of $7.5 million. "These good paying jobs and the influx of people to the area provide a real shot in the arm for the economy," said John Greuling, Will County Center for Economic Development president and CEO. "The additional workers means more dollars spent locally on goods and services."
Braidwood has two reactors, each of which is partially refueled once every 18 months. In each refueling, one-third of the unit's uranium fuel is replaced and comprehensive maintenance and testing activities performed. The new fuel will remain in the reactor for more than four years before being replaced, one of the reasons that nuclear energy plants are more reliable than other forms of power generation and why they can operate uninterrupted through extended periods of extreme heat and cold.
"The safe and reliable operation of Braidwood Generating Station is always our top priority," said Braidwood Generating Station Site Vice President Mark Kanavos. "Refueling outages are critical to assuring plant safety and long-term reliability."
Braidwood Unit 1 will continue to generate electricity during the Unit 2 outage. Braidwood Generating Station is approximately 60 miles southwest of Chicago and can produce more than 2,300 megawatts of carbon free electricity - enough to power more than 2 million typical homes.