Operators at Braidwood Generating Station returned Unit 1 to full power Thursday, May 3 following another scheduled refueling outage that began on April 9. The unit was synchronized to the electrical power grid on May 1 at 6:05 a.m. and reached full power Thursday afternoon.
During this year's outage, workers installed two new main power transformers and performed thousands of inspections and maintenance activities to ensure reliability for another two-year operating cycle. These state-of-the-art electrical components weigh approximately 500 tons and carry the plant's outbound electricity efficiently on high-voltage power lines.
"We invest heavily in equipment maintenance and upgrades every year to ensure Braidwood Station continues to operate at world-class levels of safety and operational excellence," said Braidwood Site Vice President Marri Marchionda-Palmer." The work completed during this outage will help ensure we're online during the peak summer months ahead, when consumers need us most."
Electricians, pipe fitters, welders, carpenters, laborers and other trades people were onsite to perform thousands of inspections, tests, maintenance activities, equipment upgrades and modifications that cannot be done while the unit is online, including replacing nearly one-third of the reactor's fuel.
"The Exelon refueling outages put a lot of people to work in Illinois, providing jobs for thousands of skilled local and regional union and tradespeople," said William Meyers, International Representative for the United Association of Journeyman and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry. "Exelon's 11 reactors at six nuclear power plants in Illinois not only generate clean, reliable electricity, but they power the Illinois economy by employing our state's highly skilled workers."
"During Braidwood's outages, we see a lot of additional people passing through town, frequenting local establishments and spending money for several weeks before and during refueling outages," said Christopher Osterfund, President of the Braidwood Chamber of Commerce. "It's a real shot in the arm for the community."
Braidwood's Unit 2 continued supplying the region with carbon-free electricity during the Unit 1 outage.
Braidwood Station is located 20 miles southwest of Joliet and has been producing carbon-free electricity for more than two million residents and businesses since 1988. Nearly half of Illinois' electricity and more than 90 percent of Illinois' carbon-free power is supplied by Exelon Generation's nuclear power stations.