What is the role of a control room supervisor during a refueling outage?

December 1, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear NewsGuest Contributor

Outage time at a nuclear power plant comes with a unique set of challenges for licensed personnel. A primary responsibility for control room supervisors in any mode of operation is to maintain control of the plant configuration, which during an outage requires an all-hands-on-deck approach. Considering what is involved in taking the plant apart, upgrading plant equipment, performing once-per-cycle inspections and preventative maintenance, testing safety system functionality, and loading the next core, it’s clear why so much emphasis is placed on outage performance.

NRC okays license transfers for Exelon plants

November 18, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved the indirect transfer of the licenses for 23 operating and five decommissioning reactors, as well as their associated independent spent fuel storage installations, from Exelon Corporation to a new company as part of a corporate restructuring, the agency announced yesterday.

Illinois governor signs energy bill aiding nuclear plants

September 16, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News
Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker appreciates applause at the signing event for the state's new energy bill.

In an hour-long ceremony held yesterday at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium amid some fanfare (it included an appearance by lizards, a snake, and a penguin), Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (S.B. 2408). The bill is a sweeping overhaul of the state’s energy policies aimed at phasing out fossil-fuel power generation and placing Illinois on a path to become a 100 percent carbon-free energy producer by 2050.

Bill to preserve Illinois nuclear passes legislature

September 14, 2021, 7:03AMNuclear News
The Byron (left) and Dresden generating stations.

The yearlong, nail-biting drama over the fate of Exelon’s Byron and Dresden nuclear plants came to an end on Monday afternoon when the Illinois Senate gave its nod to S.B. 2408, a wide-ranging clean energy package that seeks to phase out fossil-fuel power generation in the state and place it on a path to 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2050.

The American Nuclear Society applauds passage of Illinois clean energy legislation

September 13, 2021, 2:43PMPress Releases

"The American Nuclear Society welcomes passage of legislation to secure Illinois' clean energy future by preventing the slated premature closures of Bryon and Dresden nuclear power plants. Over 4.3 gigawatts of irreplaceable carbon-free nuclear power and more than 1,500 jobs at the nuclear power plants have been saved.

Byron, Dresden saved by the bill? An update

September 10, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News
The Byron nuclear power plant

(This story has been updated from yesterday's post about the Illinois energy package.)

With only days remaining before the scheduled retirement of Exelon Generation’s Byron nuclear plant, the Illinois House has approved a comprehensive energy package (S.B. 2408) that would save the plant, as well as the state’s similarly struggling Braidwood and Dresden facilities.

Byron, Dresden saved by the bill?

September 9, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

With only days remaining before the scheduled retirement of Exelon Generation’s Byron nuclear plant, the Illinois General Assembly may be close to passing a comprehensive energy package (S.B. 2408) that would save that plant, as well as the state’s similarly struggling Braidwood and Dresden facilities.

House Democrats have introduced an amendment to S.B. 2408 that would require municipally owned coal plants to achieve a 45 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2035 and completely phase out coal by 2045. The House is considering the amendment today.

(Financial assistance to Illinois’s nuclear fleet is part of a package that for weeks has been mired in disagreement between unions and environmental groups over the fate of the state’s coal plants.)

ANS calls on nuclear community in fight to save Byron and Dresden

September 3, 2021, 12:12PMANS News
The Byron (left) and Dresden generating stations.

Exelon’s Byron nuclear plant will be permanently shuttered in 10 days unless the Illinois House of Representatives passes the clean energy bill approved by the state’s Senate on September 1. And as the lower chamber is expected to convene for a special session sometime next week to consider the measure, ANS is encouraging members of Illinois’s nuclear community to make their position on the matter clear via ANS engage.

Hope still alive for Byron, Dresden plants

September 1, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News
The Dresden nuclear power plant

With essentially no time to spare, the Illinois Senate early this morning passed a clean energy omnibus package that includes $694 million in assistance to three of the state’s financially troubled nuclear plants: Braidwood, Byron, and Dresden. The vote was 39–16. (Both the Senate and House had returned to the capital on Tuesday for a one-day special session to consider legislative redistricting.)

Matthew Marzano named 2022 American Nuclear Society congressional fellow

August 10, 2021, 4:36PMPress Releases

Marzano

The American Nuclear Society has selected Matthew Marzano to serve as the 2022 Glenn T. Seaborg Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow. Marzano is a senior reactor operator at Exelon Generation’s Braidwood nuclear power plant in Braidwood, Ill.

“Matt is in a unique position to provide significant technical assistance to the U.S. Congress on nuclear energy, particularly now as there are important discussions that will shape the future of U.S. energy policy,” said Harsh S. Desai, chair of the ANS Congressional Fellowship Committee and a former congressional fellow himself.

“Members of Congress and their staff will greatly benefit from Matt’s depth of experience in commercial and defense nuclear power plant operations,” Desai said. “The fellowship will also be an opportunity for Matt to develop his policy expertise and learn ‘how the sausage is made.’”

Exelon still “hopeful” for state aid to IL plants, but solution remains in limbo

August 5, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

A $6 billion lifeline for struggling U.S. nuclear power plants is reportedly included in the nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill currently being mulled over in the U.S. Senate, but it won’t be thrown in time to rescue Illinois’s Byron and Dresden plants, according to owner and operator Exelon.

In an August 4 statement on second-quarter earnings, Exelon’s president and chief executive officer, Chris Crane, noted that while his company is encouraged by the growth of federal support for policies that acknowledge the value of nuclear’s clean energy generation, “passage of legislation remains uncertain and, regardless, will come too late to save our Byron and Dresden plants from early retirement this fall. While we remain hopeful that a state solution will pass in time to save the plants, clean energy legislation in Illinois remains caught in negotiations over unrelated policy matters, leaving us no choice but to continue down the path of closing the plants.” (Last August, Exelon announced its intention to prematurely retire Byron and Dresden, citing long­standing economic pressures. Last week, the company filed decommissioning plans for the two nuclear facilities.)

Decommissioning plans submitted for Byron, Dresden

July 28, 2021, 2:59PMNuclear News
The Byron and Dresden nuclear power plants.

In what could be viewed as a rather pointed message to Illinois lawmakers that time is running out to pass legislation providing a lifeline to the state’s Byron and Dresden nuclear plants, Exelon Generation this morning announced that it would file post-shutdown decommissioning activities reports (PSDARs) today with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The PSDARs detail long-term site restoration plans for the facilities, both of which are scheduled to shut down for good this fall—first Byron, in September, then Dresden, in November.

Exelon touts reliability of nuclear as time runs short to save Byron, Dresden

July 20, 2021, 3:49PMNuclear News
The Dresden nuclear power plant (Photo: Nuclear Regulatory Commission)

As Illinois lawmakers continue to debate energy legislation that would allow the state’s Byron and Dresden nuclear plants to continue operation beyond this year, Exelon would like to remind everyone—including those legislators, no doubt—of what is at stake.

Exelon files to deactivate the Byron reactors

June 18, 2021, 12:06PMUpdated June 18, 2021, 4:50PMNuclear News
The Byron nuclear power plant.

Exelon on June 16 filed with grid operator PJM Interconnection to deactivate the two Byron reactors in Illinois. The move came one day after the Illinois Senate adjourned without reaching an agreement on a comprehensive energy package that would have provided nearly $700 million to keep Byron’s reactors, as well as Exelon’s Dresden and Braidwood nuclear power plants, in operation. (In August of 2020, Exelon announced that it would close the economically challenged Byron and Dresden facilities in the fall of 2021 without some form of state aid to provide compensation for their clean power.) The state’s House of Representatives also adjourned earlier this week without taking up the bill.

No deal yet in Illinois for Exelon nuclear plants

June 17, 2021, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Illinois Senate adjourned on June 15 without calling a comprehensive energy regulatory reform package for a vote, Capitol News Illinois reported. State Sen. Bill Cunningham (D., Chicago) and Senate president Don Harmon (D., Oak Park) said afterward that they expect a vote to happen sometime this summer as negotiations continue.

Byron, Dresden, Quad Cities fail to clear in PJM capacity auction

June 8, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News
Byron nuclear power plant

Three Illinois nuclear power plants—Byron, Dresden, and Quad Cities—did not clear in last week’s long-delayed PJM Interconnection capacity auction, Exelon Generation reported in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The news is likely to further pressure the Illinois General Assembly to pass a comprehensive energy package—one with subsidies for the state’s financially ailing nuclear plants—before Exelon moves forward with its plan, announced last August, to prematurely retire Byron and Dresden.

ANS, others throw weight behind bill to aid troubled Illinois nuclear plants

May 26, 2021, 6:59AMANS Nuclear Cafe

A large group of nuclear and nuclear-friendly organizations, including the American Nuclear Society, sent a letter on May 24 to Illinois lawmakers urging them to pass the Climate Union Jobs Act (CUJA) before the legislature adjourns at the end of this month.

Among its provisions, the bill would create 74 million megawatt-hours of carbon mitigation credits for Exelon’s Braidwood, Byron, Dresden, and LaSalle nuclear plants. The Clinton and Quad Cities plants, which participate in Illinois’s zero-emission credit program, would not be eligible. (In August of last year, Exelon Generation, owner and operator of all six nuclear plants in Illinois, announced that it would close Byron and Dresden without state support of some kind, adding that Braidwood and LaSalle were also imperiled.)

Illinois governor backs limited aid to two nuclear plants

May 4, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

Pritzker

The office of Illinois governor J. B. Pritzker last week unveiled an ambitious energy plan for the state that includes limited subsidies for the financially ailing Byron and Dresden nuclear plants. (In August 2020, Exelon Generation announced that the two Illinois facilities would close this year—Byron in September and Dresden in November—without some form of compensation from the state, due to “market rules that favor polluting power plants over carbon-free nuclear energy.”)

The new plan, dubbed the Consumers and Climate First Act, calls for achieving 100 percent clean energy generation in Illinois by 2050 and recognizes nuclear as a means toward that end. “In the near term, the closure of nuclear plants in Illinois is likely to result in a generation gap that will be filled by dirty energy, namely fossil fuels,” the act states, adding that any support for nuclear should be “short-term and based on clearly demonstrated need.”

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?

Bill to preserve Illinois nuclear fleet debuts

March 31, 2021, 5:00AMNuclear News
Exelon's Byron Nuclear Generating Station.

A group of Illinois lawmakers joined Joe Duffy, executive director of the labor coalition Climate Jobs Illinois (CJI), at a virtual news conference on March 29 to unveil a union-focused, clean energy legislative proposal that includes help for the state’s struggling nuclear power plants.