Braidwood Nuclear Generating Station

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Braidwood Generating Station
Braidwood nuclear power station.png
Aerial image of Braidwood Nuclear Generating Station
CountryUnited States
LocationReed Township, Will County, near Braidwood, Illinois
Coordinates41°14′37″N 88°13′45″W / 41.24361°N 88.22917°W / 41.24361; -88.22917Coordinates: 41°14′37″N 88°13′45″W / 41.24361°N 88.22917°W / 41.24361; -88.22917
Construction beganAugust 1, 1975
Commission dateUnit 1: July 29, 1988
Unit 2: October 17, 1988
Construction costUS$5.2 billion
Owner(s)Exelon Corporation
Operator(s)Exelon Corporation
Nuclear power station
Reactor typePWR
Reactor supplierWestinghouse
Cooling sourceBraidwood Lake[a]
Thermal capacity2 × 3645 MWth
Power generation
Units operational1 × 1194 MW
1 × 1160 MW
Make and modelWH 4-loop (DRYAMB)
Nameplate capacity2354 MW
Capacity factor96.92% (2017)
89.55% (lifetime)
Annual net output19,985 GWh (2017)
External links
WebsiteBraidwood Generating Station
CommonsRelated media on Commons

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 were licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to operate until 2026 and 2027,[2] then granted extended licenses until 2046 and 2047.[3]

The power uprates at Braidwood granted in 2001 make it the largest nuclear plant in the state, generating a net total of 2,389 megawatts.[4] 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.[citation needed]

Surrounding population[edit]

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.[5]

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 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).[6]

Tritium leaks[edit]

Exelon was sued by residents of Will County and by the state's attorney in 2006.[7] The lawsuit alleges that the Braidwood plant released radioactive tritium into local water in violation of its permit.[8][9] 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.[10] The Illinois EPA also reported that all tests have confirmed releases are below the action levels of 20,000 picoCuries per liter, currently set by the EPA. However, Exelon agreed to provide bottled water to residents of Godley and to residents within 1500 feet of the blowdown line to the Kankakee River.[11]

Seismic risk[edit]

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.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Braidwood Lake is an artificial lake whose levels are maintained by periodically pumping water from the nearby Kankakee River[1]


  1. ^ "Lake Profile -- BRAIDWOOD LAKE". Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  2. ^ Energy Information Administration (August 22, 2008). "Braidwood Nuclear Power Plant, Illinois". U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Retrieved 2010-04-04.
  3. ^ Nuclear Regulatory Commission (January 27, 2016). "NRC Renews Operating Licenses of Braidwood Nuclear Power Plant in Illinois" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  4. ^ "Exelon". Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-10-02. Retrieved 2012-02-08.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ Bill Dedman, Nuclear neighbors: Population rises near US reactors,, April 14, 2011 Accessed May 1, 2011.
  8. ^ [citation needed]
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Jo Ann Hustis (3 March 2010). "NRC: Tritium Response is to Emotion, Not Risk". The Morris Daily Herald. Retrieved 2010-04-04.
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ Bill Dedman, "What are the odds? US nuke plants ranked by quake risk,", March 17, 2011 Accessed April 19, 2011.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]