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Safe, Transparent, Environmentally Conscious


Upda​ted 12/20/2017

​Exelon Generation operates its fleet of clean, reliable nuclear energy facilities at world-class levels of environmental stewardship, safety and operational excellence. Independent experts have recognized Exelon Corporation and its subsidiaries for sustainability leadership, including 11 years on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, top five utilities on the Newsweek Green Ranking and ISO 14001 environmental management system certification among others.

The Better Government Association recently published a series of articles about the safety of Exelon Generation's nuclear fleet and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's independent oversight of the nation's nuclear plants.

EXELON GEN​ERATION IN THE NEWS​

​WHAT THE COMMUNITY SAYS ​

​  

NUCLEAR POWER MAKES A CLEAN FUTURE POSSIBLE
​We’re always on, with greenhouse gas emissions on par with wind. Nuclear power accounts for about 60 percent of carbon-free electricity in the United States – nearly three times more clean air electricity than hydropower (the next largest source) and exponentially more than wind, solar or geothermal. 

                          

We monitor the environment around us – as do independent analysts

The U.S. Nu​​clear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requires Exelon Generation’s nuclear fleet – and all U.S. nuclear energy plants – to maintain an environmental monitoring program to ensure that radiation levels around the facilities are not above naturally occurring levels.
 
We monitor the air, water, sediment and food products (milk and crops) extensively around our facilities. Groundwater monitoring plans include quarterly sampling of on-site wells designed to detect unusual levels of radiation in the environment. We also regularly test all water leaving the site.
 
The NRC conducts periodic on-site inspections of each licensed plant’s environmental monitoring program to ensure compliance with NRC regulations.​
 

Get the Facts

We want to set the record straight on a number of inaccuracies in the Better Government Association's recent series.

Our Response
Exelon Generation’s nuclear fleet has one of the best safety records in the industry, and nuclear energy is by far the safest source of large-scale power generation.  Differing opinions during NRC design and safety reviews are not only encouraged, they are expected. Because safety is our highest priority, Exelon Generation does not tolerate any discrimination or retaliation against anyone who raises safety concerns, and in fact, we encourage an open and questioning dialogue around safety. To suggest otherwise does a disservice to the thousands of Illinois nuclear employees working to ensure public health and safety in the communities we serve. At Exelon Generation, we are committed to operating our plants safely and responsibly, being a good neighbor and supporting our local communities. Exelon Generation provided detailed information on key aspects of the story to the BGA, but those facts were not included.

Exelon's Fact Check on the BGA's Inaccurate Story
Clic​k here​ to get the real facts about our commitment to safety and the safe operation of our plants.
​​​

Read our Chief Nuclear Officer's letter to the editor about the BGA story.

Exelon Generation provided the following detailed information to the BGA​, but none of it was included in the story. 
Flooding
  • All 14 of Exelon Generation’s nuclear facilities are well-prepared and robustly fortified against flooding events. Independent design reviews and engineering studies confirm that our nuclear stations could withstand the most severe local flood on record with margin to spare.
  • If Exelon Generation or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission were not fully confident in our ability to defend Dresden and Quad Cities Station during a severe flood, the plants would not be operating. It’s just that simple.
  • In an effort to determine how U.S. plants might withstand “beyond design-basis” risks, the NRC went beyond historical worst-case scenarios and developed highly theoretical, computer-generated flooding models. To put the probability in perspective, the models used at Dresden and Quad Cities present an extremely unlikely, apocalyptic scenario in which the entire state of Illinois, and most of the Midwest, would be underwater.
  • Quad Cities adopted precautionary measures to ensure the plant is safe from the hypothetical rainstorm and wind-driven wave heights postulated by the NRC, and Dresden remains fully prepared to withstand floods that far exceed the worst on record.  At Quad Cities, the most severe flood ever recorded reached 586 feet, more than 9 feet below the plant’s elevation. At Dresden, the worst recorded flood reached 509 feet, almost 15 feet below the level of plant impact.
  • Today, Dresden and Quad Cities remain well-fortified against even the most severe flooding event, and we’ll continue to look for ways to make our robust nuclear facilities even safer.
  • Differing opinions during NRC design and safety reviews are not only expected, they are encouraged. The nuclear industry is unique and collaborative, and our success is predicated on acceptance and promotion of diverse viewpoints, openness and transparency, a safety-first culture, and an unyielding commitment to continuous improvement and personal accountability. 
 
Industry Open Phase Condition
  • Exelon identified an electrical anomaly at Byron Station in 2012 and performed a fleet wide review to identify any similar issues.
  • We continue to work cooperatively with federal and state regulators to make our plants more resilient to electrical disturbances but we do not wait for them to identify issues at our plants.
  • In this case, we brought the matter to the NRC’s attention and invested millions of dollars in equipment upgrades and modifications to increase reliability at Byron and across our nuclear fleet.
  • Exelon shared its solutions with the nuclear industry and helped develop an initiative, endorsed by the Chief Nuclear Officers across the industry, to eliminate the issue at all U.S. facilities.
  • The NRC plans to close this issue by verifying that all licensees have implemented the initiative by the end of 2018.
 
NRC Backfit Rule 
  • Exelon recently appealed an NRC “backfit” ruling for power-operated and pressurizer safety relief valves, and the agency concurred with Exelon’s challenge.
  • The NRC’s process allows operators to appeal backfit decisions, and we followed the prescribed appeal process.
  • Our engineers performed a comprehensive design review of the pressurizer safety valves and power-operated relief valves installed at both Byron and Braidwood. This review confirmed that the valves would open and close as designed during a theoretical event. The NRC had concurred with this conclusion multiple times in the past.
  • An independent panel of NRC experts (and ultimately, the NRC's Executive Director for Operations) concurred with our conclusion. The expert panel also found that the NRC's prior approvals of this issue were "based on reasonable and well-informed engineering judgment of the NRC staff."
  • Ultimately, NRC experts concluded that "the current licensing basis for Byron and Braidwood complies with the applicable regulations and provides adequate protection of public health and safety."  There was extensive documentation associated with the NRC's ultimate granting of our appeal.
  • The backfit appeal is a textbook example of multiple nuclear power experts applying their technical knowledge to an issue and independently coming up with the same conclusion.
  • After we exercised the appeal process, the NRC issued agency-wide guidance, adopting many of our arguments regarding the proper implementation of the backfit rule. 
 

 

 

Exelon Generation’s Illinois Nuclear Facilities Refueled and Ready to Power Seven Million Homes This WinterExelon Generation’s Illinois Nuclear Facilities Refueled and Ready to Power Seven Million Homes This Winter<div><strong>WARRENVILLE, Ill.</strong> — Exelon Generation’s Illinois nuclear facilities operated reliably this summer and are now refueled and ready to take on winter weather. Coming off one of their best seasons ever for outage performance, all six Exelon Generation Illinois nuclear stations completed comprehensive winter readiness activities this year to make them even more reliable and resilient as temperatures drop and demand for power rises.</div><div><br></div><div>“We prepare for winter all year long,” said Bryan Hanson, Exelon Generation’s Chief Nuclear Officer. “We executed our 2017 refueling outages flawlessly and successfully completed a host of ‘winter readiness’ maintenance activities to keep our fleet of nuclear power facilities online when they are needed most.”</div><div><br></div><div>Exelon Generation’s Illinois fleet of 11 reactors at six locations are operating more than 93.5 percent of the time. This metric, called capacity factor, is a key industry performance indicator and Exelon Generation is ready to continue this record of outstanding performance this winter. No other large-scale carbon-free power source comes close to matching this level of reliability.</div><div><br></div><div>Exelon Generation workers spend months ensuring that backup generators and redundant equipment is ready for inclement weather. This fall, operators and maintenance personnel inspected freeze protection systems, tested electrical equipment, and properly aligned plant systems to prepare all Exelon Generation facilities for sub-zero temperatures, icy conditions and heavy snowfall.  These efforts are in addition to the many equipment upgrades performed during refueling outages. </div><div><br></div>https://www.exeloncorp.com/newsroom/exelon-generation-il-nuclear-plants-ready-for-winter12/20/2017 12:00:00 PM
Exelon Generation Statement on Better Government Association StoryExelon Generation Statement on Better Government Association Story<p>​The BGA’s story is a sensationalized and inaccurate portrayal of Exelon Generation and its industry-leading record on safety, operational excellence and environmental stewardship. We take our environmental responsibilities seriously -- we’ve complied with all our federal environmental licensing commitments, and our plants have not caused drinking water to be unsafe. Any claims to the contrary are patently false and grossly misrepresent the integrity of our company, our employees and the communities we serve.  Exelon Generation helped establish industry-wide tritium-related monitoring, reporting and remediation procedures and has invested more than $100 million to upgrade underground piping, containment and corrosion systems across our nuclear fleet. We are proud of our record on the environment, and we encourage readers to visit our <a href="/safe-transparent-environmentally-conscious">website</a> to learn more.</p>https://www.exeloncorp.com/newsroom/exelon-generation-statement-on-bga-story11/17/2017 3:00:00 PM
Exelon Generation Statement on Water Release at Braidwood StationExelon Generation Statement on Water Release at Braidwood Station<p>​​​​We proactively reported and take full responsibility for the release of water at our Braidwood facility that was contained on our property. The water release did not impact the drinking water supply and at no time presented public health or safety risks. The station responded quickly. We have remediated the small impacted area on our property and implemented corrective actions to ensure it won’t happen again. We also voluntarily notified local community stakeholders and notified the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which posted a notification on its public website. The safety and security of our people, customers and communities is always our highest priority, and we will redouble our efforts to continue operating safely and transparently. </p><p>For more information about Exelon Generation's track record of environmental responsibility, transparency and safety, click <a href="/locations/Documents/Environmental-responsibility-transparency-safety.pdf">here</a>.</p>https://www.exeloncorp.com/newsroom/exgen-statement-water-release-at-braidwood7/7/2017 4:00:00 PM

 

​I am always impressed by the leadership and commitment Exelon demonstrates in the promotion of conservation, preservation and restoration of our natural environments throughout Illinois; from hands-on native restoration of rights of way,  to funding of grassroots organizations, and generation of nearly half of Illinois’ energy from a carbon-free source.

Christopher Burke, PhD
Chairman, Conservation Foundation, (DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will Counties, Ill.)

​Exelon has a strong commitment to its communities. Not only is it a strong community partner, providing recreational opportunities around its plants for local residents, but Exelon cares greatly about the environment. I have had the pleasure of being involved with Exelon’s Fishing for a Cure tournament since it began in 2002. The artificial habitats Exelon purchased and installed at Braidwood Lake are working. Anglers are catching more and bigger fish each year.

Chauncey Niziol
ESPN Radio host of Chauncey's Great Outdoors, (Braceville, Ill.)

In addition to being a reliable source of clean electricity, Dresden provides hundreds of direct and indirect jobs and has an enormous economic impact in Grundy County.  We’re lucky to have them in our community.

Nancy Norton Ammer
CEO, Grundy County Economic Development (Grundy County, Ill.)

 

​Journalists are invited to call our media hotline or contact individual communications professionals directly for immediate assistance. The numbers below are operational during business hours.

Exelon Generation Media Hotline
(866) 292-0960 

David Tillman
Director, Nuclear Communications
(717) 368-0969
david.tillman@exeloncorp.com

Paul Dempsey
Senior Manager, Nuclear Communications
(630) 657-4209
paul.dempsey@exeloncorp.com