Retired in 1998
After more than 20 years of operation, Zion's two reactors were permanently shut down on January 15, 1998. Commonwealth Edison, owner of the plant at the time, concluded that the continued operation of Zion Station was not financially feasible, and the plant was removed from service.
The site is approximately 50 miles north of Chicago, Illinois, and 42 miles south of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The plant property sits between the northern and southern parts of the Illinois Beach State Park, a 4,000-acre public park that receives thousands of visitors each year.
The decommissioning of Zion Station began on September 1, 2010. The $1 billion, 10-year project is the largest commercial nuclear plant dismantling ever undertaken in the United States, requiring an average of 200 skilled workers each year, most of them local, and a peak workforce of 400.
A Snapshot of Zion's History
- Number of units: two (inactive)
- Plant builder: Commonwealth Edison
- Designer: Westinghouse Construction (began December 1968)
- Commercial operations: Unit 1 ran from December 1973 to February 1997; Unit 2 from December 1974 to September 1996
To learn more about the safe decommissioning and dismantlement of nuclear plants, visit our Three Mile Island Decommissioning page.