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Dresden Generating Station

Dresden Generating Station

Dresden Generating Station, located in rural Grundy County in northern Illinois, is home to the nation’s first full-scale, privately financed nuclear power plant, which began operation in 1960.

Two of the 3 units at Dresden are currently in operation.  Dresden Units 2 and 3 began commercial operation in July 1970 and November 1971, respectively. In October 2004, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission renewed the operating licenses for both units for an additional 20 years, extending them to 2030 and 2031.  Both units contain boiling water reactors designed by General Electric.  Unit 2 is capable of generating 869 megawatts (MW) of electricity, while Unit 3 is capable of generating 871 MW. Together, the units can produce enough electricity to power more than 1.5 million average American homes. 

In 1978, Dresden Unit 1 was retired and is now designated a Nuclear Historic Landmark by the American Nuclear Society.  While in operation, the unit was capable of generating 210 MW of electricity.

Committed to Safety

Dresden 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.

Emergency Planning

Dresden 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 plan includes coordination with local counties, municipalities and school districts.

Supporting the Local Economy

Most of Dresden’s approximately 800 employees live in Grundy and Will Counties. The station’s annual payroll is about $55 million. During refueling outages, Dresden employs several hundred temporary contractors who boost the local economy during their stay.

Community Involvement

Dresden aims to be a good neighbor and is active in the local community.

  • Sponsorship.  The power plant sponsors several community events, including the Grundy County Corn Festival Fireworks.  Dresden also sponsors area youth sports teams and provides funding to a variety of charitable and civic organizations and causes.
  • Charitable Giving & Volunteering.  Dresden employees give generously to the community through a variety of volunteer activities, including the local United Way campaign. The station also sponsors blood drives during the year, helping local hospitals.

Site Vice President: Shane Marik

Plant Manager: John Washko

6500 North Dresden Road
Morris, Illinois

  • Number of units: 2
  • Total site net generation: 1,750 MW
  • 2014 net generation: 15.1 million MWh
  • 2014 capacity factor: 93.6%
Dresden Generating Station