MORRIS, Ill. – Operators at Dresden Generating Station removed Unit 2 from service shortly after midnight this morning to begin a scheduled refueling and maintenance outage. More than 1,500 supplemental workers will be on site for several weeks to support the outage, generating a significant economic boost for local businesses.
"Anytime you add 1,000-plus employees to an area, the economic stimulus is huge," said Nancy Norton, president and CEO of the Grundy Economic Development Council. "Many of the station's outage contractors patronize local restaurants, buy gas, and stay in hotels in the Grundy and Will County areas."
This year's fall outage follows a strong summer run, during which Dresden operated at greater than 97 percent capacity throughout June, July and August. During the outage, technicians will use state-of-the-art technology to upgrade plant equipment to keep the facility generating clean, reliable electricity for another two-year operating cycle.
During this year's refueling outage, workers will upgrade plant components to improve reliability and make enhancements to the turbine control system to improve performance and efficiency. These activities will help to ensure the unit's safe and reliable operation during its next two-year operating cycle and beyond.
"The highly-skilled professionals joining us for this refueling outage all share our commitment to safety and operational excellence," said Dresden Site Vice President Pete Karaba. "We care about this community, and we are very grateful for the overwhelming support we get each year."
Chili's Grill and Bar in Morris is stocked up on steaks, a traditional favorite of outage workers, and additional staff has been brought in to handle the crowds. Nearby hotels are already packed with workers who temporarily migrate to the area for weeks at a time from all parts of the country.
Clair Fleshner, an area director for Morris Chili's parent company, said Dresden's outage always means a noticeable financial uptick for the Tex-Mex restaurant.
"It changes the dynamic quite a bit from what your normal routine typically looks like," she said. "We always have additional staff. We want to make sure Dresden's outage workers are well taken care of while in town."
Dresden Generating Station is a nuclear power facility located approximately 60 miles southwest of Chicago. The station's two reactors produce more than 1,800 megawatts of carbon-free electricity at full power – enough to power more than a million homes. Dresden Unit 1, which began commercial operation in 1960 and was retired in 1978, has been designated a Nuclear Historic Landmark by the American Nuclear Society.
Follow Exelon Nuclear on Twitter
and You Tube