BYRON, Ill. - More than 2,000 workers are supporting Byron Generating Station's scheduled refueling outage, which is a welcome sight for many area merchants in Northern Illinois that have seen business stall during this harsh winter.
Approximately 1,200 additional workers will join the 850 permanent Byron Station employees, providing a temporary boost to the local economy. Most local motels, restaurants and shops from Rockford to Rochelle see an increase in customers during Byron Station outages.
"This historic winter has been tough on area businesses so the extra foot traffic will be a welcome sight," said Debbie Dickson, executive director of the Oregon Area Chamber of Commerce. "When the temporary workers stay in the area they spend money on gas, food, lodging and other goods. It will be an influx of commerce for our area and hopefully start a push for a busy spring season for our merchants."
Workers at Byron Station will refuel the Unit 1 reactor, perform more than 10,000 inspections and maintenance activities, and do other work that cannot be done while the unit is operating. All of the activities are designed to assure the unit's consistent operation when online.
"Our units performed well during this tough winter, providing power to residents for heat and other necessities," said Byron Station Site Vice President Russ Kearney. "We will safely and efficiently perform outage work that will ensure Unit 1 will operate for another 18 months and keep power flowing to the region for whatever Mother Nature has in store."
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 when a unit is taken offline.
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 2,500 megawatts, enough electricity for 2.3 million homes.
Byron Generating Station is in Ogle County, Ill., about 25 miles southwest of Rockford.