The Callaway Energy Center just outside Fulton is back in service this week after a routine shutdown for refueling and maintenance. The plant was out of commission for 50 days while several new modifications were made in addition to normal inspections and tests.
Barry Cox, the senior director of nuclear operations for the plant, says the improvements mean it will take a few days for the plant to get back to full capacity.
“We are not at full power still today (Thursday), even though we close the breakers on the May 28th time frame,” says Cox. “We anticipate returning to full power June 1st. And that’s normal for a shutdown of a nuclear plant to take a couple days.”
Cox says the installation of new transformers and upgrades of the water circulation system and steam water control system will improve the safety and long-term efficiency of the plant.
The plant maintenance required the hiring of about 800 temporary workers. Local workers filled many of those jobs, but there was still a large influx of workers to the Fulton area. Bruce Hackman, the president of the Fulton Area Development Corporation, says local businesses receive a bump whenever there’s a scheduled shutdown of the plant.
“When they’re here, obviously they spend money in our restaurants and with our hotels and other service type businesses,” Hackman says. “So it’s a great boost for our local economy.”
Shutdowns occur once every 18 months. The next shutdown is scheduled for October 2014.