Byron Nuclear Plant Learns from Fukushima

By: Landon Cassman Email
By: Landon Cassman Email

The utility company behind Japan's nuclear disaster acknowledged for the first time this month that it could have avoided a major crisis. Today spokespeople for Byron's nuclear plant say they also learned from the mistake.

"The systems here are unbelievable. It's got to be one of the safest in the world, if not the safest," said John Tuttle.

As a security guard at the Byron nuclear plant for five years, Tuttle said he's confident the station is safe.

"There's probably maybe only a few seconds that there isn't power here, and the backup systems kick in and every thing's a go," said Tuttle.

Following last year's earthquake in Japan that destroyed the Fukushima plant, releasing radiation into the air, the Byron facility took extra precautions to prevent similar major problems.

"We did a lot of different walk downs for equipment to ensure reliability of things we had," said Exelon Generation Byron Station representative Paul Dempsey. "We also purchased other kinds of equipment that we could move into areas if needed if we have some sort of loss of power event to the plant. Other things that we continue to work on in response to Fukushima event."

Despite the increase in examinations, there are some that still have concerns with the overall safety of the plant. Today the facility hosted an open house where one guest said workers are not being properly trained in the event of a disaster.

"Exelon as a corporation has not listened to and paid attention to the workers," said Stanley Campbell of the Sinnissippi Alliance for the Environment. "And the workers have had to go to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to get themselves heard.

Campbell said he also has concerns with the storage of the plant's nuclear waste.

The Byron Generating Station has been in operation since 1985, and is licensed until 2025. They are currently in the process of putting together a license extension proposal.


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