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Braidwood, Byron stations file license renewal applications

Exelon seeks to extend operating licenses for 20 years

Published: Thursday, May 30, 2013 10:14 a.m. CDT

WARRENVILLE, Ill. – Exelon Generation on Wednesday filed license renewal applications with the Nuclear Regulatory Committee for its Braidwood Generating Station in Braceville, Ill. and Byron Generating Station in Byron, Ill.

The application filing begins a multiyear review by the NRC to extend the stations’ licenses to operate for another 20 years.

Braidwood Unit 1 is currently licensed to operate until 2026 and Unit 2 until 2027. Byron Unit 1 is licensed to operate until 2024 and Unit 2 until 2026. The plants generated a combined 37 million megawatt hours of electricity in 2012, enough to power more than four million homes, according to the company’s announcement of the application filings.

The applications are the result of two years of work by an Exelon team of technical and environmental experts to review every mechanical, electrical and structural aspect of the plants and design aging management strategies for all relevant equipment and systems. Combined, the application totals approximately 3,600 pages and reviews more than 480,000 plant components.

“For decades, the Braidwood and Byron Generating Stations have been tremendous assets for Illinois, providing abundant, clean energy.” said Mike Pacilio, president, Exelon Nuclear and Chief Nuclear Officer. “But more than that, these facilities have been important economic engines in the communities where they operate.”

The Braidwood and Byron stations each year pay $50 million in property taxes; contribute approximately $150,000 to local charities and non-profits; and contribute more than $300,000 to the United Way, which has a direct and indirect positive economic impact on the surrounding communities. The stations employ 1,700 employees, combined, Exelon notes.

Braidwood Generating Station is approximately 60 miles southwest of Chicago. The station’s two nuclear energy units can produce a total of more than 2,300 megawatts at full power – enough electricity to power more than 2 million typical homes.

Byron Station is located in Ogle County, Ill., about 25 miles southwest of Rockford. The station’s two nuclear energy units can produce a total of more than 2,300 megawatts at full power – enough electricity to power more than 2 million typical homes.

The NRC’s license renewal process is extensive. Over the next two years, the NRC will review the application for both safety and environmental impacts. Teams of NRC staff will visit each facility to verify information in the application. Additional information will be requested by the NRC, which Exelon will provide.

The NRC will then complete a Safety Evaluation Report (SER) and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS). The process also includes a review by the independent Advisory Committee for Reactor Safeguards (ACRS).

The public will have an opportunity to comment on the application and attend NRC hosted public meetings for each of the nuclear facilities.

A final decision on the applications would be expected in 2015.

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