Constellation’s fleet ran near capacity during record heat

Quad Cities Generating Station
Quad Cities Generating Station at Cordova. CREDIT CONSTELLATION

While wildfires, hurricanes and extreme heat battered Americans coast to coast during what was the hottest summer in Earth’s recorded history, Constellation reported that its carbon-free nuclear units ran nearly 100% of the time.

Constellation, whose fleet now includes the Quad Cities Generating Station in Cordova, Illinois, announced its power production results for the summer in a news release Thursday, Sept. 21. 

Constellation’s 21 reactors at 12 sites from the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast operated at 99.4% during the months of June, July and August. 

The company said that near-perfect reliability helped it power the equivalent of 15 million average American homes through a growing number of extreme heat days.

“As the quantity and severity of these extreme weather events increase, Constellation’s clean energy centers continue to play a vital role in providing reliable and affordable carbon-free energy to American homes and businesses,” Bryan Hanson, Constellation’s executive vice president and chief generation officer, said in the release.

“As the summer storms and excessive heat wane, we’re shifting our focus to a comprehensive fleetwide winter preparedness campaign, to ensure that we are equally prepared for extreme cold temperatures,” he added.

Last spring in preparation of the summer heat, technical experts performed tens of thousands of tasks at Constellation nuclear plants during refueling and maintenance outages designed to ensure all reactors would run uninterrupted. With more than half a billion dollars spent on outage activities, the energy provider said the most important tasks were technology upgrades, major component refurbishments and the loading of new fuel. 

Constellation’s nuclear fleet in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast U.S. includes Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Calvert County, Maryland; Pennsylvania facilities Limerick Generating Station and Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in Montgomery and York counties; and New York facilities Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant and Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station in Oswego County and Ginna Nuclear Power Plant in Wayne County.

In addition to the Quad Cities station in Rock Island County, its Illinois nuclear fleet includes: Braidwood Generating Station in Will County; Byron Generating Station in Ogle County; Clinton Power Station in DeWitt County; Dresden Generating Station in Grundy County and LaSalle County Generating Station.

Constellation, headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, is a Fortune 200 company. Constellation Energy Corporation is the nation’s largest producer of clean, carbon-free energy and a leading supplier of energy products and services to businesses, homes, community aggregations and public sector customers across the continental United States.

Constellation operates the former Quad Cities Exelon plant and owns 75% of it with MidAmerican Holdings owning the remaining 25% share. Constellation became a standalone publicly traded company in early 2022 after completing its split from Exelon. 

The QC station, which began service in 1973, operates two units that are licensed through 2032. The station also houses the only privately owned fish hatchery on the Mississippi River.  

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