BYRON, Ill. (Feb. 27, 2017) — Operators removed Byron Generating Station Unit 1 from service early this morning, kicking off a planned refueling and maintenance outage that will provide a major economic boost to the local community and generate millions of dollars in wages and commerce for the Byron area and beyond.
During the outage, technicians will upgrade plant equipment using state-of-the-art technology to keep the plant running at world-class levels of safety and operational excellence for decades to come.
The most significant upgrade work, and the most visible to area residents, will be the replacement of the two Unit 1 main power transformers, which are approaching the end of their normal operating life. This upgrade is part of a fleet-wide effort Exelon Generation launched more than a decade ago to ensure reliable service for customers. The massive transformers take the electricity generated at the facility and increase it to a higher voltage for transportation on the high-voltage transmission lines that are part of the electrical grid.
“Equipment maintenance and upgrades are always extremely important at Byron Station,” said Mark Kanavos, Byron Station’s site vice president. “The work being performed during this outage will bolster the local economy and help us to continue to deliver safe, clean, reliable energy for the region for many years.”
Also planned during the outage is replacement work on eight large pumps, various electrical maintenance and upgrade projects, and more than 1,000 preventative maintenance tasks. Exelon Generation has hired nearly 1,200 additional workers to support the outage activities at the nuclear plant, which will boost sales at nearby hotels, restaurants, gas stations and other merchants.
“The Byron Station refueling outage is a boon to our local economy,” 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 it enhances the safety and reliability of power generation for our area.”
While the unit is down, one of Byron’s two cooling towers will not produce water vapor. This is normal when a unit is taken offline. Byron’s Unit 2 will continue to supply clean electricity during the Unit 1 outage.
Byron Station supports approximately 5,100 direct and secondary jobs in Illinois, and the facility contributes $1.7 billion to the state’s economy annually. The plant generates nearly 2,300 megawatts of electricity, enough for more than 2 million homes. Exelon Generation’s six nuclear stations in Illinois inject nearly $9 billion into the state economy each year while providing 90 percent of the state’s carbon-free power. To learn more about the vital role nuclear plays in supplying electricity to Illinois and the tremendous benefits it provides families and communities, visit nuclearpowersillinois.com. Byron Generating Station is in Ogle County, Ill., about 25 miles southwest of Rockford. Follow Exelon Nuclear on Twitter and You Tube.