BRACEVILLE, Ill. — Operators at Exelon Generation’s Braidwood Generating Station removed Unit 1 from service early Monday morning, beginning a planned refueling outage at the nuclear plant that will bring more than 1,400 additional workers to the region and provide an economic boost to nearby communities.
Electricians, pipe fitters, welders, carpenters, laborers and other tradespeople traveled to Braidwood to perform thousands of inspections, tests, maintenance activities, equipment upgrades and modifications that cannot be done while Unit 1 is online, including replacing nearly one-third of the reactor’s fuel. The additional workers in town create a welcome increase in foot traffic at local businesses.
“Our community relies on the Braidwood outage boost,” said Tony Altiery, City Administrator for the City of Braidwood. “Business is already booming here. You see more people at gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores and even the local banks and barbershops. The city enjoys a significant increase in sales tax revenue while these workers are here.”
At Jones-Eez Bar-B-Q on Kennedy Road, special hours have begun with the restaurant opening at 6 a.m. to serve breakfast to crowds of outage workers, said owner Bob Jones, who also serves as Braidwood’s mayor.
“We love this time of year seeing the outage workers descend on Braidwood to frequent our businesses,” Jones said. “It’s a lot of the same workers coming year in and year out. They are good to the community and enjoy spending their money locally. Every business in town benefits from having these folks around. The plant is such an asset for the community, especially during outages.”
Back at the plant a host of maintenance activities, inspections and upgrades will help Braidwood Station deliver carbon-free, reliable electricity to Illinois customers for the next 18-month operating cycle.
“The maintenance activities and equipment upgrades completed during this outage will ensure Braidwood Station continues operating at world-class levels for years to come,” said Braidwood Site Vice President Marri Marchionda-Palmer. “Our employees and contractors work hard during outages and take a lot of pride in providing Illinois with reliable, zero-carbon energy.”
Braidwood’s Unit 2 will keep supplying the region with carbon-free electricity during the Unit 1 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.