Exelon Generation is the operating company of Exelon Corporation, one of the largest power producers in the world. The company serves three major regions in the United States: the Midwest, Texas, and the Mid-Atlantic. The company several different power generating facilities, including nuclear, solar, landfill gas, hydroelectric, fossil, and wind plants. Exelon’s power generation portfolio includes the nation’s largest nuclear fleet.
In addition to maintaining an impressive number of facilities, Exelon also attempts to maintain its status as an environmental leader, striving to utilize low carbon nuclear energy in its nuclear fleet. Exelon decided to put forth this plan to reduce energy consumption in 2008. The goal was to decrease consumption by 25% in commercial facilities and 7% in power plants within four years. At the end of 2009, Exelon had succeeded in reducing energy levels by about 23.8% in commercial facilities and by 6.6% in auxiliary energy use. These reductions equal a total reduction of about 145,000 metric tons of GHG emissions.
Exelon is currently working under a new strategy to continue energy reduction. The strategy is called Exelon 2020 and will involve plant renovations and practices that support clean operations. In addition to Exelon’s efforts to improve their environmental record, the company’s plants all utilize emergency response strategies in an effort to protect the health and safety of employees and the general public. These emergency response plans are federally-approved and the company works in conjunction with local school districts, counties, and municipalities to improve and achieve safety goals.
However, even with these safety and environmental actions, many of the corporation’s older plants likely contained asbestos materials to provide insulation. As facilities that produce high temperatures and electrical power, sufficient insulation materials are extremely important to safe plant operation. Asbestos was used for its natural ability to resist the heat and chemicals that were often found in these facilities. However, despite that effectiveness at improving facility safety, the material also posed its own set of health consequences as well. A friable material, asbestos fragments into tiny particles that suspend in the air when disturbed. When suspended, these fibers can easily enter the bodies of employees, embedding in the tissue surrounding organs and leading to a host of serious diseases. Among these conditions are respiratory disease, including asbestosis, and a serious cancer known as mesothelioma.