Clinton nuclear plant back at full power

Clinton nuclear plant back at full power

CLINTON — The Clinton nuclear plant has returned to service after a refueling and maintenance outage that lasted about 29 days.

Exelon Generation Co. crews returned the 30-year-old plant to full power Monday, completing a scheduled outage that began May 8, said Exelon spokesman Brett Nauman.

More than 1,500 additional workers joined the plant's nearly 700 regular employees to complete the refueling outage, he said. As usual, the additional staff provided a boost to the local economy.

While the unit was offline, technicians replaced nearly one-third of the reactor's fuel and performed inspections, tests, maintenance activities and modifications.

"The work done over the past several weeks will help us continue to provide clean, safe, reliable power to central Illinois consumers for years to come," said Ted Stoner, Clinton site vice president.

The outage at the Clinton plant is slightly less than the 35-day nuclear industry average required for refuelings and maintenance work.

The work, coincidentally, went on during the period that Exelon Generation officials originally had said they'd close the plant.

On June 2, 2016, the company said that it would close plants at Clinton and near the Quad Cities unless the Legislature approved a Future Energy Jobs plan that would gradually raise rates and make other changes in the Illinois energy industry.

The Legislature approved the plan in December and it was almost immediately signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

"We are very appreciative to be at a point to be operating for another 10 years," Nauman said.

"Our employees, families and neighbors are very thankful to Illinois legislative leaders for enacting this legislation that recognizes the significant environmental and economic benefits of nuclear power to our state," said Stoner.

The Clinton plant, about 35 miles west of Champaign, operated with a 94.9 percent capacity factor last year, Nauman said. The average capacity factor for U.S. nuclear plants last year was 92.1 percent, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Clinton produces 1,069 megawatts at full power, enough electricity to power about 1 million typical homes.

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