BRACEVILLE, Ill. — Operators at Exelon Generation’s Braidwood Station removed Unit 2 from service early Monday morning, beginning a planned refueling outage at the nuclear power plant that will bring more than 1,200 additional workers to the region. Maintenance activities, inspections and upgrades completed during the outage will help Braidwood deliver zero-carbon, reliable energy for another 18-month cycle.
“We invest heavily in maintenance and equipment upgrades each year to ensure Braidwood Station continues to operate at world-class levels of safety and operational excellence,” said Braidwood Site Vice President Marri Marchionda-Palmer. “The work completed in this outage will help ensure that Unit 2 remains online during the cold winter months ahead, when people need us most.”
Electricians, pipe fitters, welders, carpenters, laborers and other trades people are onsite to perform thousands of inspections, tests, maintenance activities, equipment upgrades and modifications that cannot be done while the unit is online, including replacing nearly one-third of the reactor’s fuel.
Workers come from all over Illinois and the U.S. for the Exelon Generation outages, staying in local hotels and patronizing local businesses. Braidwood’s refueling and maintenance outage will bring 1,200 temporary jobs to the area, which will give local retailers a boost to their bottom lines.
Local business owners are already seeing more traffic. Bob Jones, owner of Jones-Eez Bar-B-Q in Braidwood, began special hours for his restaurant during the outage, opening at 6 a.m. to serve breakfast to crowds of workers instead of the usual 11 a.m. start. He said business ticks up significantly during refueling outages.
“Every business in town benefits from these outages, from gas stations and grocery stores to restaurants and barbershops,” Jones said. “We all see more customers coming through our doors and more money flowing into our registers. It’s great for the community.”
Allied Services employee Doug Considine, a Dixon-area native, has worked at Exelon Generation plants since the 1980s and is representative of many contract workers who pass through the area.
“I’ve been working the Exelon outages for a long time and have found the travel to other areas like Braidwood a great experience,” he says. “I get into a routine of buying my morning coffee at one place, having dinner at another, even finding a car repair shop and barber when I have needed it. The towns near the plants have treated me well and I’ve been able to reciprocate by giving a lot of local businesses a part of my paycheck.”
Braidwood’s Unit 1 will keep supplying the region with carbon-free electricity during the Unit 2 outage.
Braidwood Station is located 20 miles southwest of Joliet and has been producing carbon-free electricity for more than two million residents and businesses since 1988. Nearly half of Illinois’ electricity and more than 90 percent of Illinois’ carbon-free power is supplied by Exelon Generation’s nuclear power stations.