Clinton Nuclear Generating Station

Clinton Nuclear Generating Station
Clinton Power Station

Clinton Power Station
Clinton Nuclear Generating Station is located in Illinois
Location of Clinton Power Station
Country United States
Location Harp Township, DeWitt County, near Clinton, Illinois
Coordinates 40°10′20″N 88°50′6″W / 40.17222°N 88.835°W / 40.17222; -88.835Coordinates: 40°10′20″N 88°50′6″W / 40.17222°N 88.835°W / 40.17222; -88.835
Status Operational
Commission date April 24, 1987
Licence expiration September 29, 2026
Construction cost >$2.6 billion
Operator(s) Exelon Corporation
Architect(s) Sargent & Lundy
Reactor information
Reactors operational 1 x 1043 MW
Reactors planned 1 at least 1,100 MW
Reactor type(s) boiling water reactor
Reactor supplier(s) General Electric
Power generation information
Annual generation 9,250 GW·h
As of 2008-11-19

The Clinton Power Station is located near Clinton, Illinois, USA. The nuclear power station has a General Electric boiling water reactor on a 14,300 acres (57.9 km2) site with an adjacent 5,000 acres (20.2 km2) cooling reservoir, Clinton Lake. Due to inflation and cost overruns, Clinton's final construction cost exceeded $2.6 billion. The power station began service on April 24, 1987 and is currently capable of generating 1,043 MW.

After more than a decade of operation the plant's original owner, Illinois Power, deduced that it was not economical to own and operate only one nuclear generating station. They subsequently sold Clinton Generating Station to Exelon Corporation for a more modest price of $40 million dollars, with the purchase including the fuel in the reactor vessel and responsibility of all the radioactive waste in the spent fuel storage pool. The reactor design is of the type called the Generation II reactor.[citation needed] Clinton Nuclear Station is a BWR-6 with a Mark III containment structure. The present reactor operating license was issued April 17, 1987, and will expire September 29, 2026.

The Operator and Owner is the Exelon Corporation.

In September 2003, Exelon submitted an Early Site Permit to place a second reactor at the Clinton site — this was approved March 15, 2007.[1] The Early Site Permit does not actually grant any type of license to begin building a second reactor, although it offers the operator an avenue to begin the approval process leading to construction and operation of an additional power reactor at the site. According to the ESP, the new plant design will be of the AP1000 type, although the ESP does not state what gross wattage has been selected.

In January 2010, GE-Hitachi announced that the station will begin producing cobalt-60. The technology is soon to be installed at the Clinton boiling water reactor during Clinton's planned maintenance and refueling outage in order to produce cobalt-60. The radioactive isotope is used for a variety of medical and industrial purposes including cancer therapy, sterilization of medical equipment, food irradiation and materials testing.

It is produced by inserting a 'target' rod rich in non-radioactive cobalt-59 into a reactor core where free neutrons will be captured, turning cobalt-59 into cobalt-60. After retrieval from the core, processing can extract the cobalt-60 for manufacture into a useful radiation source. The vast majority of the world's cobalt-60 supply - over 80% - has traditionally come from Canada's National Research Universal (NRU) reactor at Chalk River. In general, the supply situation for medical and industrial isotopes is shaky thanks to a reliance on this kind of aging research reactor. Clinton will be the only light water reactor currently producing cobalt-60.

Exelon Nuclear president Charles Pardee said: "We view this as an opportunity for Exelon to support an important medical technology that saves people's lives." [2]

It was announced in September 2011 that GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy and Exelon commissioned a feasibility study into creating Molybdenum-99(Mo-99) at the reactor. Mo-99 decays to produce technetium-99m (Tc-99m) that is used in around 50 million medical diagnostic imaging procedures every year. With a half-life of only six hours, Tc-99m is too short-lived to be transported to hospitals so is produced where it is needed in generators containing Mo-99. As Mo-99 itself has a half-life of only 66 hours, the world needs reliable, steady supplies of the isotope, most of which is made by irradiating uranium-235 targets inside a research reactor.

Most of the world's Mo-99 comes from only five research reactors: Canada's NRU, the Netherlands' HFR, Belgium's BR-2, France's Osiris and South Africa's Safari-1. Issues at some of the reactors in recent years have led to worldwide problems with the supply of this vital isotope. [3]


Surrounding population

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.[4]

The 2010 U.S. population within 10 miles (16 km) of Clinton was 14,677, a decrease of 0.4 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 813,658, an increase of 5.7 percent since 2000. Cities within 50 miles include Champaign (30 miles to city center).[5]

Seismic risk

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's estimate of the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at Clinton was 1 in 400,000, according to an NRC study published in August 2010.[6][7]

In popular culture

Inspired by the nearby power station, Clinton radio station WHOW changed its motto to "WHOW, your radio active station" in April 1989.[8]


  1. ^ "Issued Early Site Permit - Clinton Site". Early Site Permits. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). August 28, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 
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  5. ^ Bill Dedman, Nuclear neighbors: Population rises near US reactors,, April 14, 2011 Accessed May 1, 2011.
  6. ^ Bill Dedman, What are the odds? US nuke plants ranked by quake risk,, March 17, 2011 Accessed April 19, 2011.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Ex-mayor's encore rebuffs Warhol". Bloomington Pantagraph. April 17, 1989. "In Clinton, though, WHOW radio may have outdone them all. The station's new slogan is influenced by Illinois Power Co.'s nuclear plant just eight miles away. "WHOW," goes the motto. "Your radio active station."" 

External links

AmerGen sign.

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