BRACEVILLE, Ill. (June 22, 2009) - Exelon Nuclear's Braidwood Generating Station will be working in the Kankakee River this week, cleaning the area in front of the station's water intake structure.
Today workers will begin removing the build-up of riverbed silt and debris in the area. Water is brought in through the intake and fed into the station's cooling lake, where it is used to cool the plant during electricity generation.
Exelon will use newer technology to perform the work, making as little impact to the environment as possible. Workers will operate a vacuum system from an adjacent barge to clear the path in front of the structure. The material removed from the river will be placed in a retention pond near the intake. The displaced water will then flow back into the river while the silt and debris remain in the pond.
Information about the project was submitted to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. A permit for the work, which will last about a week, has been secured through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
"We will take great measures to protect the surrounding environment as we make improvements to the area in front of the river intake," said Braidwood Station Site Vice President Bryan Hanson.
The station periodically performs this work, last doing so in 1999.
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 2 million homes.