Exelon Plans: Raze Info Center, Build Warehouse

Exelon Plans: Raze Info Center, Build Warehouse

LIMERICK PA – Exelon Corp. received permission Tuesday (Jan. 16, 2018) from the Limerick Board of Supervisors to “move forward” on tentative plans that would demolish its currently unused training and information center on Longview Road, and in its place build a smaller warehouse to store one piece of spare equipment valued at millions of dollars.

Supervisors warned, however, they would hold the nuclear power company responsible for completing five tasks related to earlier projects before later agreeing to expedite its request for final development approval at the Longview site. Board acceptance is necessary because the property is commercially zoned and its use is being changed, township Manager Daniel Kerr explained.

Exelon Plans: Raze Info Center, Build WarehouseOnly a location photo and a sketch of the replacement building’s position (at right) were available for public viewing during the meeting. Exelon said it had hired Sanatoga-based engineering firm Bursich Associates to draft drawings for the future building, and named Ryan Construction as its contractor. Final approval and construction will not proceed until township staff and, ultimately, board members deem completed plans as acceptable.

The warehouse would store what Exelon representatives (at top, during the board meeting) described as an “emergency spare” 190-ton generator rotor, the cost of which they said exceeded $10 million. It is a crucial part of the electrical power-creating machinery in the company’s Limerick Generating Station at 3146 Sanatoga Rd., and would be kept in guarded and secured storage until needed, if ever.

The part may appear to some as a costly hedge bet against a future equipment problem, but the representatives noted “there’s a very long lead time” to obtain the “rare” and specialized device. A website called “The Virtual Nuclear Tourist” stated rotor failures at generating plants elsewhere had caused them to shut down operations for several months.

Company plans call for leveling the single-story former information center. It opened decades ago as an educational facility to demonstrate to area residents and school children the operations of and safety measures involved in nuclear power generation. As visitor interest waned over the years, it became a training building for Exelon employees.

The property is owned by Exelon, but is not within the controlled portion of the generating station, the company said.

Once the land is cleared Exelon would erect a one-floor, three-story-tall building that could accommodate the rotor, a specially-designed 14-axle moving vehicle to transport it, and plenty of overhead room for movement, the company indicated. The building’s footprint would be smaller than that of the former center, and about a third-acre of excess parking area would be returned to natural use.

Limerick and Linfield fire companies also will benefit from the center before it comes down, supervisors learned. Both will use the structure for training scenarios two days before demolition begins, Kerr reported.

Supervisor Patrick Morroney worried about the transport vehicle’s effect on local roads; Exelon explained its axles distributed the weight so evenly that the load was akin to a single dump truck on one trip. The company nonetheless agreed to accept responsibility and pay for move-related road damage, if later identified during an inspection by the township public works department.

Exelon had other unfinished project items still pending from as long as two years ago, Supervisor Kara Shuler added, and said she would oppose the warehouse unless progress was made on them. Its representatives apologized, reported their team had become aware of the punch list only last November, and had already addressed four of five items. She and others congratulated them on the improvement.

Photos from The Post Publications