Exelon’s Dresden 3 returns to full power after refueling outage

Exelon (NYSE:EXC) said Nov. 22 that it had returned the Dresden 3 nuclear power facility in Illinois to full power following a quick refueling and maintenance outage that only started Nov. 3.

During the 16-day outage, Exelon employees and supplemental workers performed more than 9,000 activities, including extensive safety inspections and tests, along with numerous plant improvements.

About 1,500 additional workers joined the station’s permanent workforce to support the outage, Exelon said in a news release.

Exelon operates 11 nuclear units at six sites in Illinois. These facilities provide 48% of the state’s total electricity and 90% of its carbon-free electricity. In recent months, Exelon has been making the case for more favorable business arrangements for its carbon-free nuclear fleet in Illinois – especially at a time when EPA is trying to cut CO2 emissions.

Dresden 1 was offline briefly in October to maintenance on an automatic voltage regulator. Both Dresden units are boiling water reactors (BWRs).

Dresden Generating Station is approximately 60 miles southwest of Chicago. The station’s two nuclear energy units can produce more than 1,900 MW at full power – enough carbon-free electricity to power more than 1.2 million typical homes. Dresden Unit 1, which began commercial operation in 1960 and was retired in 1978.

Few U.S. nuclear units currently offline

In its daily reactor status report, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) only listed three of the nation’s 100 commercial nuclear reactors at zero generation.

The NRC report also listed the NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE) Duane Arnold plant in Iowa at 4% generation. Duane Arnold began its refueling outage Oct. 4. The plant is still in the refueling outage, according to a company spokesperson.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.