WARRENVILLE, Ill. — Exelon Generation’s nuclear plants in Illinois safely operated at nearly full power through consistently warmer-than-average days in June, July and August, producing enough carbon-free electricity to keep air conditioners running and more than 11 million homes and businesses cool throughout the summer. The power generated by these plants also enabled essential businesses and hospitals to continue operation through some of the hottest months of the year. The steady hot temperatures resulted in the Chicago area’s hottest summer ever recorded.
"Our nuclear facilities are among the most reliable power plants in the country, and we know how important it is for them to be available during extremely hot weather conditions," said Shane Marik, Senior Vice President for Midwest Operations, Exelon Generation. "Thank you to our more than 4,700 full-time Illinois nuclear employees for working hard in the heat to keep our fleet delivering carbon-free energy that protects customers from the harmful carbon and air pollution that would have resulted from fossil-fuel fired plants that would have run in their place."
Exelon Generation's Illinois nuclear fleet recorded a near-perfect reliability rate last summer as well, operating 98.9 percent of the time, one of many indicators that industry experts use to rate efficiency and performance. During the hottest summer and coldest winter temperatures, Exelon Generation's nuclear fleet has been critical to meeting electricity demand in Illinois.
Despite the high reliability provided by these plants, Exelon Generation recently announced it will retire its Byron and Dresden nuclear plants in 2021 as they face revenue shortfalls in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The two plants employ more than 1,500 full-time employees and supply 30 percent of Illinois’ carbon-free energy, making them vital to meeting the state’s goal of achieving 100 percent clean energy.
Summer resiliency and reliability requires year-long planning, preparation and maintenance. Exelon Generation workers spend months ensuring that backup generators and spare equipment are ready when temperatures start to sizzle. This spring, operators and maintenance personnel inspected, tested and repaired equipment throughout the six Illinois nuclear sites to ensure plant systems remain available at all Exelon Generation facilities during the dog days of summer.