Despite record cold, all six Exelon Generation Illinois nuclear plants provided around-the-clock, carbon-free electricity for 11 million homes and businesses
WARRENVILLE, Ill. — While arctic winds sent temperatures plunging dangerously and electricity demand soaring this week, Exelon Generation's six Illinois nuclear plants operated at full power, producing enough carbon-free electricity to keep 11 million homes, businesses, schools and hospitals safe and warm.
"Our nuclear facilities are among the safest and most reliable power plants in the country, and we are dedicated to being online when customers need us most, even in the most frigid weather conditions," said Exelon's Chief Nuclear Officer Bryan Hanson.
"Thank you to our more than 5,600 full-time Illinois nuclear employees for braving the freezing cold to keep our fleet operating effectively. We are fortunate in Illinois that we don't have to choose between clean energy and reliability -- our six well-run nuclear facilities deliver both."
Exelon Generation's Illinois nuclear fleet recorded a near-perfect reliability rate last winter as well, operating 97.6 percent of the time, one of many indicators that industry experts use to rate efficiency and performance. During the 2014 Polar Vortex, Exelon Generation's nuclear fleet was critical to meeting electricity demand, as coal piles froze, and natural gas supplies were re-routed for home heating.
Winter resiliency and reliability requires year-long planning, preparation and maintenance. Exelon Generation workers spend months ensuring that backup generators and spare equipment is ready for inclement weather. This fall, operators and maintenance personnel inspected freeze protection systems, tested electrical equipment, and properly aligned plant systems to prepare all Exelon Generation facilities for sub-zero temperatures, icy conditions and heavy snowfall. These efforts are in addition to the many equipment upgrades and "winter readiness" maintenance activities performed during refueling outages.