BYRON, Ill. - Byron Generating Station's refueling outage begins today with significant upgrades and large scale projects among planned work scheduled. The large amount of activities means temporary employment for thousands in Northern Illinois and beyond.
Workers at Exelon Generation's Byron Station will refuel the Unit 1 reactor, perform maintenance on many turbine-related pieces of equipment, and refurbish one of the cooling tower's interior structure.
More than 2,200 additional workers have descended on the region to assist in the refueling outage, hundreds more than in past outages. Many of these workers are from local union halls. The work couldn't come at a better time for those still coping with a sluggish economy. Benefitting will be electricians and pipefitters, carpenters and welders, and many more during the refuel outage.
"This is our biggest outage in more than a decade and we're glad so many people will be able to come to the site and work," said Byron Station Vice President Tim Tulon. "We need the extra assistance; and many of these professionals currently need work. It's a wonderful opportunity for all to benefit."
In addition to replacing about one-third of the reactor's fuel, workers will perform approximately 14,000 inspections and maintenance activities on a variety of plant components and systems. Many of the activities performed during the outage cannot be done while the unit is operating.
Residents should be aware of the increased traffic in towns near the plant, which is a positive boost for businesses looking for an economic upturn. Most local motels, restaurants and shops from Rochelle to Rockford and many places in between see an increase in customers during Byron Station outages.
"We recognize that the increase in traffic during the outage might cause delays for some. We appreciate everyone's patience during this time," added Tulon.
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 almost 2,300 megawatts, enough electricity for 2.3 million homes.
Byron Generating Station is in Ogle County, Ill., about 25 miles southwest of Rockford.