BRACEVILLE, Ill. (March 2, 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 tritium remediation progress and its plans for long-term spent fuel storage - also known as dry cask storage.
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.
Remediation continues to work well as the highest concentration of tritium in the groundwater has been reduced by more than 97 percent as of September 2008. Water taken from a test well back in December 2005 showed the highest concentration level at 230,000 picocuries per liter (pCi/l). In September 2008 the same well was tested and showed a concentration of 6,250 pCi/l - a decrease of more than 97 percent.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) sets standards for acceptable public drinking water. Under those standards, any concentration of tritium up to 20,000 pCi/l is within EPA acceptable limits for safe drinking water.
The plume size has also been greatly reduced south of Smiley Road - a sign that enhanced remediation has been effective. Exelon continues to work with all state, federal and local authorities on this remediation plan.
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.
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.