BYRON, Ill. - Byron Station's Unit 2 reactor is offline after 516 consecutive days of providing around-the-clock, carbon-free power. The reliable generation from the unit kept air conditioners humming over the summer and helped keep houses warm during the worst of the polar vortex last winter.
Operators at Byron Generating Station took Unit 2 offline this morning for scheduled refueling and maintenance activities after an 18-month non-stop run of providing power to Northern Illinois and beyond. The precision work completed over the coming weeks will help ensure another long uninterrupted run for Unit 2.
More than 1,500 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 refueling outages.
"The nuclear plant's two refueling outages this year are a boon to many of our businesses in the area," said Deanna Mershon, executive director of the Byron Area Chamber of Commerce. "We are glad for the work that takes place - not only because of increased foot traffic at local businesses, but also because of the continued reliability in regards to power generation for the area."
Workers at Byron Station will perform more than 10,000 inspections and maintenance activities and do other work that cannot be done while the unit is operating. This includes replacing about one-third of the unit's fuel. All of the activities are designed to assure the unit's consistent operation when online.
"Approximately 18 months ago we completed a Unit 2 maintenance and refueling outage, and the unit provided carbon-free power every day since," said Byron Station Site Vice President Russ Kearney. "Now it is time to safely and efficiently perform our outage work that will once again ensure Unit 2 will operate for another 18 months."
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 1 will continue to supply carbon-free electricity to Exelon customers during the Unit 2 outage. With both units at full power, the site produces almost 2,500 megawatts, enough electricity to power more than 2 million average American homes.
Byron Generating Station is in Ogle County, Ill., about 25 miles southwest of Rockford.