Clinton plant shut down for refueling

Clinton plant shut down for refueling

CLINTON — Exelon Generation's Clinton nuclear plant began a scheduled refueling outage Monday — its 14th since the plant went into operation 26 years ago.

With the unit offline, maintenance is scheduled to be performed and thousands of inspections made on various components and systems.

About one-third of the reactor's fuel will be replaced, and low-pressure and high-pressure turbines will be inspected, according to an Exelon release.

This outage is different from previous ones because Clinton is moving to a 12-month cycle between scheduled outages, rather than a 24-month cycle, said Bill Harris, the site's communications manager.

Harris said the move to a shorter cycle between outages is related to the cost of fuel and not having to load as much fuel into the reactor. He said he believes Clinton is among the first Exelon units to move to the shorter cycle.

Harris said the company is not releasing information on how long it expects this outage to last.

For this outage, the station's permanent team of about 700 employees will be augmented with more than 1,900 skilled workers from local union halls and other Exelon nuclear facilities.

The company is expected to spend about $26.5 million on contractor and vendor support for the outage, with more than $2 million of that to be spent with local vendors, according to Exelon.

"The staff has been planning this outage for more than two years," said Keith Taber, Clinton Power Station site vice president.

The nuclear plant is located in DeWitt County, about 6 miles east of Clinton. The plant produces 1,078 megawatts, enough electricity for about 1 million homes.

Exelon Corp., based in Chicago, is one of nation's largest power generators, with about 35,000 megawatts of owned capacity.

Its utilities — ComEd, BGE and PECO — deliver electricity and natural gas to more than 6.6 million customers in northern Illinois, central Maryland and southeastern Pennsylvania, respectively.

Exelon's Illinois nuclear plants include not only the single-unit Clinton plant but also the dual-unit Braidwood, Byron, Dresden, LaSalle and Quad Cities plants.

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