Braidwood Nuclear Generating Station
|Braidwood Generating Station|
|Location||Reed Township, Will County, near Braidwood, Illinois|
|Commission date||Unit 1: July 29, 1988
Unit 2: October 17, 1988
|Construction cost||US$5.2 billion|
|Nuclear power station|
|Reactor type||Pressurized water reactor|
|Units operational||2,330 MW
|Annual generation||19,658 GWh|
Braidwood Generating Station is located in Will County in northeastern Illinois, USA. The nuclear power plant serves Chicago and northern Illinois with electricity. The plant was originally built by Commonwealth Edison company, and subsequently transferred to Com Ed's parent company, Exelon Corporation.
This station has two Westinghouse pressurized water reactors. Unit #1 came online in July 1987. Unit #2 came online in May 1988. The units are licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to operate until 2026 and 2027.
The recent[when?] power uprates at Braidwood make it the largest nuclear plant in the state, generating a net total of 2,242 megawatts. However the three largest Illinois nuclear power plants are nearly equal in generating capability as LaSalle County Nuclear Generating Station is only 2 MW less in capacity than Braidwood and Byron Nuclear Generating Station is only 4 MW less than LaSalle.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission defines two emergency planning zones around nuclear power plants: a plume exposure pathway zone with a radius of 10 miles (16 km), concerned primarily with exposure to, and inhalation of, airborne radioactive contamination, and an ingestion pathway zone of about 50 miles (80 km), concerned primarily with ingestion of food and liquid contaminated by radioactivity.
The 2010 U.S. population within 10 miles (16 km) of Braidwood was 33,910, an increase of 6.5 percent in a decade, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data for msnbc.com. The 2010 U.S. population within 50 miles (80 km) was 4,976,020, an increase of 5.3 percent since 2000. Cities within 50 miles include Joliet (20 miles to city center).
Exelon was sued by residents of Will County and by the state's attorney in 2006. The lawsuit alleges that the Braidwood plant released radioactive tritium into local water in violation of its permit. However, the US NRC has said the response is based on "emotion, not risk", and gone on record to state the tritium releases did not jeopardize human health or safety in any manner. The Illinois EPA has also said all tests have confirmed releases are below the action levels of 20,000 picoCuries per liter, currently set by the EPA. However, bottled water will be provided to residents of Godley and to residents within 1500 feet of the leaking blowdown line.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's estimate of the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at Braidwood was 1 in 136,986, according to an NRC study published in August 2010. 
- Energy Information Administration (August 22, 2008). "Braidwood Nuclear Power Plant, Illinois". U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Retrieved 2010-04-04.
- Bill Dedman, Nuclear neighbors: Population rises near US reactors, msnbc.com, April 14, 2011 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42555888/ns/us_news-life/ Accessed May 1, 2011.
- Office of the Illinois Attorney General. "MADIGAN, GLASGOW FILE SUIT FOR RADIOACTIVE LEAKS AT BRAIDWOOD NUCLEAR PLANT".
- Jay Berkowitz (17 March 2006). "Modern Erin Brokovich Story -- 11 Families File Suit over Braidwood Nuclear Plant Waste Contamination". PRWeb. Retrieved 2010-04-04.
- Office of Community Relations (April 2006). "Fact Sheet 2 - Exelon Braidwood Nuclear Facility Update on Tritium Releases and Groundwater Impacts". Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 2010-04-04.
- Jo Ann Hustis (3 March 2010). "NRC: Tritium Response is to Emotion, Not Risk". The Morris Daily Herald. Retrieved 2010-04-04.
- Bill Dedman, "What are the odds? US nuke plants ranked by quake risk," msnbc.com, March 17, 2011 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42103936/ Accessed April 19, 2011.
- "Braidwood 1 Pressurized Water Reactor". Operating Nuclear Power Reactors. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). 4 December 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-04.
- "Braidwood 2 Pressurized Water Reactor". Operating Nuclear Power Reactors. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). 4 December 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-04.
- "Exelon-Discounts Radioactive leakews". Chicago Tribune.