U.S. Natural Gas Futures Drop Below $3 for First Time Since 2012

U.S. Nuclear Generation Gains as Three Eastern Plants Return

U.S. nuclear-power generation rose to an 11-week high after reactors in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Maryland returned to service.

Nationwide production rose 0.9 percent to 84,982 megawatts, or 83 percent of capacity, the most since March 9, according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 3.4 percent higher than a year ago with 14 of 104 plants offline.

Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. (PEG) started the 1,174-megawatt Salem 1 reactor in New Jersey after shutting it for more than five weeks for refueling and planned maintenance. The unit, about 18 miles south of Wilmington, Delaware, was operating at 2 percent of capacity today.

Constellation Energy Group Inc. began generation at the 862-megawatt Calvert Cliffs 2 reactor, about 38 miles south of Annapolis. The reactor, which today operated at 3 percent of capacity, tripped offline on May 21 because of equipment failure associated with the steam generator feed pump, according to the NRC.

The 685-megawatt Pilgrim 1 reactor owned by Entergy Corp. (ETR) restarted and was operating at 1 percent of capacity. The unit, about 4 miles east of Plymouth, Massachusetts, had been shut since mid-April.

Reactor maintenance shutdowns, usually undertaken in the U.S. spring or fall when energy use is lowest, may increase consumption of natural gas and coal to generate electricity. The average refueling down time was 46 days in 2012, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute.

To contact the reporter on this story: Naureen S. Malik in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at

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