BYRON, Ill. (WTVO) — The Byron nuclear power plant celebrated a milestone on Monday that was decades in the making.

The occasion marked 4,500 straight days of operation. Since electricity is always needed, it takes a lot of employees to keep the station going.

Byron Plant Manager Harris Welt gave credit to the members of their team who dedicated years of hard work. “It’s really a tribute to all of our 700 employees that work here at Byron Station to operate the plant day and night, address all of our issues and keep the units running all the time,” Welt said.

Retired shift manager Mark Rasmussen took a job at the Byron plant right after he graduated with his nuclear engineering degree. He was proud to return to the plant.

“A lot of the work that some of us did earlier in our careers here, back in the 70’s and 80’s, was addressing the issues that made the plant less reliable. This accomplishment of 45 years, here and especially the 4,500 consecutive days is kind of an indication what we did was effective,” Rasmussen explained.

In the end, it’s all about safety. Dedicated employees like Rasmussen are critical in keeping the plant in tip-top shape.

“We have to operate our plant safely and reliably everyday, and then we have to do the right maintenance on our equipment at the right time so we don’t have any issues operating the plant,” Welt added.

A recent 20 year license extension means the plant will be providing power for years to come.

Celebratory cake baked by O’s Bakery in Oregon, Illinois.


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