Exelon (NYSE:EXC) said plant operators at the Dresden nuclear station removed Unit 3 from service shortly after midnight Oct. 31 to begin a scheduled refueling and maintenance outage.
The outage follows a strong summer run, during which Dresden operated at greater than 97% capacity during June, July and August, the company said in a news release.
Dresden 2 is not affected by the outage and was listed at 100% power early Oct. 31 by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
More than 1,500 additional workers will join the facility’s 800-plus permanent employees during the outage.
Workers at Dresden will replace about one-third of the Unit 3 reactor’s fuel. They will also perform more than 8,000 inspections, maintenance activities and other work that cannot be done while the unit is operating.
The work includes performing upgrades to safety system control components that will improve reliability, and making enhancements to the turbine control system to improve performance of its pumps and valves. All of these activities will help to ensure the unit’s safe and reliable operation during its next two-year operating cycle and beyond.
Nearly half of the state’s electricity is generated by Exelon’s six Illinois nuclear energy facilities. Exelon continues to press Illinois lawmakers for policy that includes some sort of zero emissions credit that would include nuclear power.
Dresden Generating Station is approximately 60 miles southwest of Chicago.
The station’s two boiling water reactors (BWRs) can produce a total of more than 1,800 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, has been designated a Nuclear Historic Landmark by the American Nuclear Society.