KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. — While arctic winds sent temperatures plunging dangerously and electricity demand soaring last week, Exelon Generation's Pennsylvania nuclear plants operated at full power, producing enough electricity to keep five million homes and businesses safe and warm. Daytime temperatures in the Philadelphia region dipped to six degrees Fahrenheit last week and wind chill factors were recorded as low as minus 35, breaking a record set back in 1948.
"Our nuclear facilities are among the safest and most reliable power plants in the country, and we are dedicated to being online when customers need us most, even in the most frigid weather conditions,” said Exelon’s Chief Nuclear Officer, Bryan Hanson. "Thank you to the thousands of nuclear employees who braved the freezing cold and kept our fleet operating during this period of high demand. Pennsylvania residents shouldn’t have to choose between clean energy and reliability -- our safe and well-run nuclear facilities deliver both.”
Exelon Generation's nuclear fleet, which includes 13 facilities in Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland, recorded near-perfect reliability last winter as well. During the 2014 Polar Vortex, Exelon Generation’s nuclear fleet was critical to meeting electricity demand, as coal piles froze, and natural gas supplies were re-routed for home heating.
Winter resiliency and reliability requires year-long planning, preparation and maintenance. Exelon Generation workers spend months ensuring that backup generators and spare equipment is ready for inclement weather. This fall, operators and maintenance personnel inspected freeze protection systems, tested electrical equipment, and properly aligned plant systems to prepare all Exelon Generation-operated facilities for sub-zero temperatures, icy conditions and heavy snowfall. These efforts are in addition to the many equipment upgrades and "winter readiness" maintenance activities performed during refueling outages.