Byron Clean Energy Center

Byron, Ill.

An aerial photo of Byron Generating Station, a nuclear power plant

  • Number of operating units: 2
  • Site net generation: 2,347 net MW
  • Customers served: More than 1.7 million homes
  • Location: Approximately 20 miles southeast of Rockford, Ill., and 110 miles west of Chicago
  • Number of Employees: 693
  • Annual Property Tax Payments: $35.1 million

Byron Clean Energy Center has 2 units capable of generating approximately 2,347 net megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 1.7 million average American homes. Its twin cooling towers overlook the scenic Rock River Valley. The towers help cool the two Westinghouse pressurized water reactors. Units 1 and 2 began commercial operation on Sept. 16, 1985, and Aug. 2, 1987, respectively.

The majority of Byron’s approximately 693 employees live in Ogle and Winnebago counties. The plant’s annual payroll is about $82.5 million. During refueling outages, Byron employs about 2,000 temporary contractors who boost the local economy during their stay. Byron also supports approximately 5,100 direct and secondary jobs in Illinois. The facilities’ output also stimulates Illinois’ labor income and employment.

Illinois’ nuclear facilities contribute nearly $9 billion to the state’s economy annually, with Byron contributing $35.1 million in property taxes annually. The greatest impact in Illinois is on the professional, scientific and technical sectors due to the volume of specialized services required to operate a nuclear energy facility.

Byron aims to be a good neighbor and is active in its surrounding communities.

  • Sponsorship: In addition to the examples below, Byron Clean Energy Center sponsors many other events and organizations, including the Byron and Oregon Chamber of Commerce, the Byron Lions and Rotary, the Mt. Morris Women’s Club, Northern Illinois Bassmasters, Ogle County CASA, and Oregon Park District. 
  • Education: Byron Clean Energy Center sponsored educational efforts including a summer reading program in Mt. Morris, resource room at Stillman Valley High School, Winnebago H.S. robotics team, and winter lecture series at the Byron Forest Preserve District. The center also sponsored $1,000 scholarships for graduating seniors at Byron, Oregon and Stillman Valley High Schools.
  • Community Events: Byron Clean Energy Center sponsors seven different festivals in the communities around the facility. These grants, totaling $12,000, include sponsorships of Autumn on Parade and Rockin River Fest in Oregon, ByronFest, Leaf River Daze, the Let It Ring festival in Mt. Morris, the Ogle County Fair, and Stillman Valley Fall Festival.
  • Community Improvement and Theater Donations: Provided more than $2,000 to Habitat for Humanity – Oregon Council, and sponsored the 2018-2019 program of the Byron Civic Theatre.
  • Employee Giving and Volunteerism: Byron Clean Energy Center and its employees donate more than $250,000 to area non-profits through the Employee Giving Campaign and site Charitable Contributions.

Nuclear energy is by far the largest clean-air energy source and the only one that can produce large amounts of electricity around the clock. In 2023, Byron generated 19.4 million megawatt-hours of carbon-free electricity, which is the equivalent of removing 3 million average passenger vehicles from our roads.

  • Byron Clean Energy Center earned the Wildlife Habitat Council’s “Silver Certification” for its work on Bluebird houses, pollinator plantings to support Monarch butterflies, and the reclamation of former farmland for the planting of 2,000 new trees.

Byron Clean Energy Center, like all U.S. nuclear energy facilities, is based on a “defense-in-depth” design, which means there are redundant layers of safety. There are multiple layers of safety systems to provide water to the reactor core. These safety systems, and their backup safety systems, are powered by multiple and redundant power sources. Nuclear energy plants are built with multiple physical barriers, including thick, steel-reinforced concrete walls around the reactor to contain radioactive materials.

Our employees are personally committed to safety. They are highly-skilled workers and continually receive training to make our safe work practices even safer. We have a culture of continuous learning and implement lessons learned from operating experience to continue to operate safe nuclear energy facilities. Each employee has 100 percent accountability. We welcome strict, daily oversight by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). We work with the NRC to ensure that all regulations are complied with - and exceeded.

Byron employs a sophisticated emergency response plan to protect public health and safety approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the state of Illinois.  The Emergency Planning includes coordination with local counties, municipalities and school districts.