More than 500 people attended Byron Generating Station's Community Open House on Monday, Oct. 22. Guests represented dozens of towns all over Northern Illinois, and represented a wide age range and differing levels of nuclear power knowledge. It was a perfect venue to inform all attendees about the importance of nuclear power.
Informational booths in the training building of the Exelon Generation facility included "How a Plant Works" and "Nuclear Fuel," along with "Environmental" and "Emergency Preparedness" booths. The plant's Human Resources group staffed a table – right near the ever-popular "Pepper" the robot, who entertained guests. Attendees also tried their hand at "Virtual Reality" training, learned how to put on protective clothing, and also had a lesson on electrical safety with the interactive ComEd "Safety City" model.
A large staff of volunteers kept the Control Room Simulator and Electrical Maintenance Lab busy from start to finish. Rockford Ice Hogs mascot Hammy Hog made an appearance as part of the station's free raffle of Ice Hogs tickets, which were won by Jim Boulton (Rochelle), Rachel Hansen (Byron) and Jeff Isenberger (Pecatonica). The stars of the show were the more than 40 volunteers who helped welcome and educate guests as well as work on logistics of the day's events.
Byron Station also made a pair of check presentations at the event. The plant gave $5,000 to the Meridian School District to support their development of a college resource room. Edward Liegl accepted the check on behalf of the school district. Ed is the College and Career Coordinator at Meridian CUSD #223. Byron Station's "Women in Nuclear" group also presented a check for $2,567 to Pink Heals, which collects money for health care support and focuses on keeping the funds local. The funds were collected during the plant's recent refueling project.
Station employees received countless "Thank Yous" from guests. Some were local residents who were first-time visitors while others traveled from DeKalb, Southern Wisconsin, Sterling – and all places in between. It was a pleasure to teach residents about nuclear power and its importance in the country's energy mix.