The power plant is built on a 4,457-acre site, and its cooling lake was formed from scarred farming land and an old strip mine. Units 1 and 2 began commercial operation in July and October of 1988, respectively.
Both of Braidwood’s units are pressurized water reactors designed by Westinghouse. Unit 1 is capable of generating 1,194 net megawatts (MW) of electricity, while Unit 2 is capable of generating 1,166 net MW. Together they can produce enough electricity to power more than 2 million average American homes.
Committed to Safety
Braidwood Generating Station, like all U.S. nuclear energy facilities, is based on a “defense-in-depth” design, which means there are redundant layers of safety. There are multiple layers of safety systems to provide water to the reactor core. These safety systems, and their backup safety systems, are powered by multiple and redundant power sources. Nuclear energy plants are built with multiple physical barriers, including thick, steel-reinforced concrete walls around the reactor to contain radioactive materials.
Our employees are personally committed to safety. They are highly-skilled workers and continually receive training to make our safe work practices even safer. We have a culture of continuous learning and implement lessons learned from operating experience to continue to operate safe nuclear energy facilities. Each employee has 100 percent accountability. We welcome strict, daily oversight by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). We work with the NRC to ensure that all regulations are complied with - and exceeded.
Learn more about the safety of Exelon's nuclear energy plants.
Generating More Low-Carbon Electricity
As part of Exelon 2020, Exelon Nuclear launched a series of planned power uprates across the company's nuclear fleet that will generate additional generation capacity within 8 years without turning a spade of earth. Uprate projects improve the efficiency and increase electricity output of a nuclear generating unit through upgrades to plant equipment. The projects take advantage of new production and measurement technologies, new materials and learning from a half-century of nuclear power operations
Braidwood employs a sophisticated emergency response plan to protect public health and safety approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the state of Illinois. The Emergency Planning includes coordination with local counties, municipalities and school districts.
Supporting the Local Economy
The majority of Braidwood’s approximately 825 Exelon employees live in Grundy and Will counties. The power plant’s annual payroll is about $63 million. During refueling outages, Braidwood employs several hundred temporary contractors who boost the local economy during their stay.
Braidwood aims to be a good neighbor and is very active in the local community.
- Sponsorship. The power plant sponsors several community events including the Braidwood SummerFest Fireworks and the Braidwood Shootout, a 32-team basketball tournament held annually at Reed Custer High School. The plant also sponsors numerous other community events and youth sports teams.
- Charitable Giving. Braidwood employees give generously to the community through a variety of charitable activities including the local United Way chapters and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund. The plant also sponsors blood drives throughout the year, helping local hospitals. The plant’s “Goodwill Committee” also runs food, toy and fund drives to support various community groups and agencies.
- Events. “Fishing for a Cure” is the power plant’s signature event. This annual fishing tournament raises money for a local charity selected each year by employees. Exelon pays for the event, allowing 100% of the entry fee, raffles and silent auctions to go directly to the chosen charity. Since 2002, the event has raised more than $300,000 for charity. The 2013 event, which benefited the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Illinois raised a record $57,000.
Braidwood Community Newsletter [PDF, 500 KB]Braidwood Generating Station strives to keep its neighbors informed about events at the plant. View a copy of the most recent community newsletter mailed to Braidwood's neighbors.