Byron has 2 units capable of generating approximately 2,336 net megawatts (MW) of electricity. Together the units can produce enough electricity to power more than 2 million average American homes.
Its massive twin cooling towers reach 495 feet into the air, overlooking the scenic Rock River Valley. The towers help cool the 2 pressurized water reactors designed by Westinghouse. Units 1 and 2 began commercial operation on September 16, 1985, and August 2, 1987, respectively.
Committed to Safety
Byron 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.
Byron 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 Byron’s approximately 850 employees live in Ogle and Winnebago counties. The plant’s annual payroll is about $60 million. During refueling outages, Byron employs about 2,000 temporary contractors who boost the local economy during their stay.
Byron aims to be a good neighbor and is very active in many of the surrounding communities.
- Sponsorship. The power plant sponsors a number of events and organizations, including the Byron Civic Theatre, Oregon Summer Concert series, annual ByronFest and the Rockford Association for Minority Management. A number of local sports teams, often coached by our employees, also receive site sponsorship.
- Charitable Giving & Volunteering. Byron employees give generously to the community through a variety of charitable activities, including the local United Way chapters. The plant also sponsors a blood drive and various “Day of Caring” days where employees visit a non-profit agency and help complete needed work projects. The plant’s “Goodwill Committee” also donates food, toys and clothes to non-profit community groups, especially during the holiday season.