Michelle Zietlow-Miller: The ins and outs of outage management

October 8, 2021, 3:42PMNuclear NewsMichael McQueen

Michelle Zietlow-Miller

Michelle Zietlow-­Miller, outage manager at Exelon’s Quad Cities plant, had no particular interest in nuclear while growing up in the (very) small town of Great Bend, N.D. She was, however, good at math and science, and taking her mother’s advice to pursue a career in engineering, she earned a degree in chemical engineering from Iowa State University in December 2004.

At the time, one of her dream jobs was to work as a chemical engineer for Budweiser. (“Making beer is a chemical process that involves fermentation,” Zietlow-­Miller explains. “Chemical engineers are hired as process engineers to oversee the fermentation and bottling processes.”) Alas, the King of Beers was not in her future. Instead, Exelon came calling, and in January 2005, she began a career in the nuclear industry as a systems engineer at Quad Cities, located in northwestern Illinois. She’s been at the two-­unit boiling water reactor facility ever since, but in a variety of roles.

Zietlow-­Miller recently spoke about her career and outage management strategies and challenges with Nuclear News staff writer Michael McQueen.

A state of uncertainty: Nuclear power in Illinois

April 30, 2021, 5:01AMNuclear NewsMichael McQueen

If there is one U.S. state you might think would be on top of the nuclear-plant-retirement problem, it’s Illinois: With 11 power reactors, more than any other state, it is number one in nuclear generating capacity. In 2019, 54 percent of its in-state generation came from nuclear power. So why, at this writing in mid-April, does Illinois still face the possibility of losing two of its nuclear plants later this year?