LIMERICK PA – Unit 2 at Exelon Nuclear‘s Limerick Generating Station was safely shut down by its operators for scheduled re-fueling and maintenance shortly after midnight this morning (Monday, March 23, 2009), company spokesman Joseph Szafran reported.

Framed by trees lining Sanatoga Station Road, Steam bellows from the cooling tower of LGS Unit 1.

Framed by trees lining Sanatoga Station Road, steam bellows from the cooling tower of LGS Unit 1.

Unit 1 will continue to generate electricity during the Unit 2 shutdown.

The shutdown completes a successful 402-day run of Unit 2, and also set a new record of 363 days in which both Units 1 and 2 ran continuously, Szafran said. He did not name a date on which the unit would be re-started, or the timeframe for maintenance activities. Limerick Site Vice President Chris Mudrick said teams had been preparing for the outage for “more than a year” and intend to conduct about “19,000 activities on a variety of plant components and systems.”

Teams will be comprised of an additional 2,000 skilled workers “from other Exelon sites, local union halls, travelers from outside the area, and specialized vendors, according to Szafran.

The tasks include replacing a third of the reactor’s fuel and performing extensive inspections, Mudrick said. Many activities performed during the shutdown cannot be completed while the plant is running, he added. All are meant to ensure electricity production for another 24-month operating cycle once the unit goes back on line.

Both of Limerick’s units are boiling water reactors designed by General Electric.  Unit 1 is capable of generating 1,149 net megawatts; Unit 2,  1,146 net megawatts. Together, they produce enough power to support the electricity needs of more than two million average homes.