BYRON, Ill. - Exelon Generation operators removed Byron Station Unit 2 from service early this morning, kicking off the station's fall refueling and maintenance outage. When one of Byron Station's dual nuclear reactors is taken offline for scheduled refueling, it's great news for local businesses and the regional economy. When both reactors are refueled in the same calendar year, as is happening now, it creates an economic windfall of major proportions, generating more than 2,500 seasonal jobs, filling restaurants and hotels to capacity and helping local businesses thrive.
'The influx of additional workers really helps our business,' said Robin Costa, who owns Costa's Pizzeria & Ristorante in Byron with her husband, Saro. The couple opened Costa's 26 years ago and they see about a 10 percent boost in sales during each Byron Station outage. 'It's like Christmas coming twice.'
During the outage, technicians will replace approximately one-third of the reactor's fuel and upgrade plant equipment to keep the facility running at world-class levels of safety and operational excellence.
'Exelon Generation's nuclear refueling and maintenance outages are a win-win for consumers and local communities across the state,' said Tom Chalmers, acting site vice president for Byron Station. 'The maintenance activities and inspections underway now will help us remain online safely and reliably for another 18 months, and the additional workforce generates millions for local businesses.'
During the outage, Byron employees and highly skilled supplemental workers will replace portions of the Unit 2 turbine system and perform preventative maintenance. Byron's Unit 1 will continue to supply carbon-free electricity during the Unit 2 outage.
'When Byron has a refueling outage, we see a big boost here in Rockford,' said John Groh, president and CEO of the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. 'In the weeks leading up to and during the outage many Rockford hotels and restaurants are at full capacity. Byron Station is a great asset in our region.'
Byron Station supports approximately 5,100 direct and secondary jobs in Illinois, and the facility contributes $1.7 billion to the state's economy annually. The plant generates nearly 2,300 megawatts of electricity, enough for more than two million homes. Exelon Generation's six nuclear stations in Illinois inject nearly $9 billion into the state economy each year while providing 90 percent of the state's carbon-free power. To learn more about the vital role nuclear plays in supplying electricity to Illinois and the tremendous benefits it provides families and communities, visit nuclearpowersillinois.com. Byron Generating Station is in Ogle County, Ill., about 25 miles southwest of Rockford. Follow Exelon Nuclear on Twitter and You Tube.