BRACEVILLE, Ill. (Feb. 5, 2009) - Exelon Nuclear's Braidwood Generating Station will host its next Community Information Night on Thursday, March 5 where members of the public can learn about Braidwood's plans for long-term spent fuel storage - also known as dry cask storage - and its tritium remediation progress.
The information night will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. at Cinder Ridge Golf Course, 24801 Lakepoint Drive in Wilmington. Exelon representatives, technical experts and officials from various agencies - including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), and Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) - will be on hand to provide information and answer questions on a one-on-one basis with attendees about the operation of Braidwood Station.
The dry cask storage process is a safe, secure and reliable method of storing used nuclear fuel and is a proven technology that is used across the nuclear industry. Fifty-five commercial nuclear plants have either adopted this storage method or are in the process of implementing such a facility. Exelon's Dresden and Quad Cities stations already use dry cask storage, and its Byron and LaSalle plants are in the early stages of construction.
Like other commercial nuclear plants, Braidwood Station needs to store used nuclear fuel on site in a steel-lined, concrete pool until the U.S. Department of Energy opens a more permanent storage facility. Space in Braidwood's pool will become limited in the coming years, necessitating the need for the dry cask process.
Station personnel will begin construction of a concrete storage pad this spring, with further infrastructure work commencing in 2010 followed by the actual cask moves in 2011.
The dry cask storage process involves moving used nuclear fuel safely from the station's fuel pool into a robust steel-lined container. The containers will be stored at a secure location on station property until the Department of Energy takes ownership and moves them to a more permanent storage facility.
The containers are robust structures that are designed to withstand extreme conditions, including earthquakes, tornadoes, floods and sabotage. They are steel-lined and contain 26 inches of concrete that surrounds the outer diameter of a smaller cask. The NRC licenses the containers.
The storage pad will be located in the station's highly secure Protected Area, which will be monitored on a 24-by-7 basis by security and operations personnel.
In addition to hearing more about dry cask storage, residents will be able to receive updates about the station's tritium remediation efforts and other plant projects.
Refreshments will be served and takeaway information will be available at the information meeting. More information on the tritium remediation project can be found at www.braidwoodtritium.info.
Braidwood Generating Station is approximately 60 miles southwest of Chicago. The station's two nuclear energy units can produce a total of more than 2,300 megawatts at full power - enough electricity to power more than two million homes.