Nuclear, Reactors, Waste Management & Decommissioning

Thousands of workers busy on maintenance outage at Exelon’s Dresden nuclear Unit 2

Exelon’s Dresden nuclear-powered Unit 2 has begun its scheduled refueling and maintenance outage that will take several weeks and employ more than 1,500 additional workers.

The facility located in Morris, Illinois, generates about 1,800 MW of electricity at capacity. Unit 2 began operation in the 1970s and has been relicensed through 2029.

During the outage, technicians will replace nearly one-third of the reactor’s fuel and perform 7,900 inspections, tests and maintenance activities that cannot be accomplished while the unit is generating electricity. To support this work, more than 1,500 supplemental electricians, pipe fitters, welders, carpenters, laborers and other trades people have traveled to the Grundy County area for the weeks-long outage. 

“The maintenance performed during the outage will help Dresden Station deliver reliable, carbon-free power to more than 1.5 million customers,” said Dresden Station Site Vice President Pete Karaba. “Our skilled workforce of permanent employees, as well as the many trades that support us, will be working around the clock to ensure we continue to run non-stop through the extreme cold of winter.”

Dresden last scheduled refueling and maintenance outage began October 2017 and was completed nearly three weeks later. Dresden Unit 3 is expected to go offline in a year for its next scheduled maintenance outage.

Nancy Norton, president and CEO of the Grundy Economic Development Council, lauded the economic boom Dresden’s outages bring to the region.

“The outage produces good-paying work for so many of our skilled industrial tradesmen and women,” Norton said. “The economic infusion of hundreds of extra workers means a boost to local convenience stores, gas stations, catering businesses and much more.”

Dresden unit 2 employs a GE boiling water reactor. Unit 1 was decommissioned later that decade, but Units 2 and 3 continue to operate.