Although a record-breaking blast of cold weather recently hit the Midwest, Exelon’s Illinois NPP (Nuclear Power Plants continued their operation at all six stations (Braidwood, Byron, Clinton, Dresden, LaSalle, and Quad Cities). Ten of the eleven reactor units were up and running at full power, the one reactor unit not available was already shutdown for a refueling outage.
Despite the chill, these NPP’s provided 11 million homes and businesses power to heat and power their homes as usual. Once again, our nuclear power plants across the country continue to demonstrate their value in maintaining a steady reliable resilient power grid.
Bryan Hanson, Exelon’s Chief Nuclear Officer, said “Even during this unseasonably cold weather, our Illinois fleet’s performance further demonstrates the reliability and resiliency of nuclear power in any kind of weather. We are dedicated to being online when customers need us most, no matter what Mother Nature throws at us at any time of year.”
Winter resiliency efforts don’t just happen, it requires attention to detail and careful planning. Reliability and resiliency for sub-zero conditions, icy-conditions and heavy snowfall is a year-long process – it requires frequent checks of backup generators and spare equipment, personal inspection of freeze protection systems, electrical equipment and plant systems to be properly prepared. In addition, operations such as a refueling outage are also needed – not just for the obvious purpose of refueling, but also to upgrade equipment, undergo additional maintenance, and inspect and maintain equipment, not as accessible when the plant is operating.