MARSEILLES, III. (Feb. 15, 2016) — What if you could use a camera to visualize yourself doing a job prior to performing the actual work? Nuclear workers at LaSalle County Generating Station have that opportunity during the Unit 1 refueling outage, which began early this morning.
A virtual reality camera, which captures high-definition, 360-degree footage inside the plant, is being used for the first time during the station’s refueling outage. Previously, supervisors used diagrams, photos and drawings to prepare their teams for work being done inside the plant. Use of this innovative technology allows workers to get a 360-view of plant components and systems, which help them visualize and understand the scope of the project before setting one-foot into a designated work area.
“We strive to perform every task flawlessly at our nuclear station,” said LaSalle Station Plant Manager Harold Vinyard. “This technology will help us train our workers, prevent human error and reduce radiation exposure.”
LaSalle Station is bringing in more than 1,400 supplemental workers to help support the 800 employees during the outage. These additional workers provide a temporary boost to communities in the area with many of the workers staying in area hotels, shopping at local stores and eating at restaurants. During the LaSalle Unit 2 outage in 2015, the station spent more than $52 million with local vendors and payroll for its supplemental workers.
During the refueling outage workers will perform approximately 14,000 maintenance and refurbishment activities that cannot be performed while the unit is operating. The work tasks are designed to enhance the unit’s ability to provide reliable, carbon-free electricity for years to come.
LaSalle has two reactors, each of which is refueled once every 24 months. Approximately one-third of the unit’s fuel will be replaced. LaSalle Unit 2 will continue to generate electricity during the Unit 1 outage.
At full power the facility’s two generating units produce more than 2,300 megawatts of carbon-free electricity, enough to power more than 2 million typical American homes. Approximately 90% of the carbon-free power in Illinois is produced by Exelon’s six nuclear facilities in the state. LaSalle Station is about 75 miles southwest of Chicago near Marseilles, Ill. For more on the Nuclear Powers of Illinois campaign and how you can get involved, visit www.nuclearpowersillinois.com