U.S. Nuclear Output Rises as Exelon Corp. Starts Peach Bottom 3

U.S. nuclear production jumped 3 percent as Duke Energy started an Oconee reactor in South Carolina and Exelon Corp. switched on a Peach Bottom unit in Pennsylvania, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said.

Output from U.S. plants increased by 2,529 megawatts to 86,691 megawatts, or 85 percent of capacity, from 84,162 yesterday, according to a report from the NRC and data compiled by Bloomberg. Twelve of 104 plants are offline.

Duke Energy started its 846-megawatt Oconee 3 reactor after shutting it for refueling on Oct. 25. It is operating at 1 percent of capacity. The plant, located about 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Greenville, also has Oconee 1 and 2, which are at full power.

Exelon Corp. started its 1,112-megawatt Peach Bottom 3 reactor in Pennsylvania. It’s operating at 1 percent of capacity after crews replaced one of the unit’s transformers.

Peach Bottom 2, another unit at the plant located about 18 miles south of Lancaster, is at full capacity.

Southern Co. switched on its 851-megawatt Farley 1 reactor in Alabama. The unit is operating at 30 percent of capacity. Another unit at the site, Farley 2, is operating at full power. The plant is located about 18 miles south of Dothan.

The Tennessee Valley Authority boosted its 1,123-megawatt Watts Bar 1 reactor to 100 percent of capacity from 17 percent yesterday after a transformer powering a coolant system failed on Nov. 15, causing it to shut. The plant is located about 10 miles south of Spring City.

Sequoyah Reactor

The authority also increased output at its 1,148-megawatt Sequoyah 1 reactor to half power from 17 percent of capacity yesterday after a failed steam safety valve caused a shutdown on Nov. 16. It was returning to service after a refueling outage when it was taken offline while at 26 percent of capacity. The unit is located about 10 miles northeast of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

NextEra raised power at its 693-megawatt Turkey Point 3 unit in Florida to 100 percent of capacity from 75 percent yesterday after repairing a fault in a water circulating pump. The reactor is located 25 miles south of Miami.

Another unit at the site, Turkey Point 4, is operating at full capacity.

Progress Energy Inc. boosted its 710-megawatt Robinson 2 reactor in South Carolina to 67 percent of capacity from 7 percent yesterday. The plant is located about 26 miles northwest of Florence.

FitzPatrick Plant

Entergy Corp. raised output at its 852-megawatt FitzPatrick reactor in New York to 62 percent of capacity from 25 percent yesterday after maintenance. The plant, located 6 miles northeast of Oswego on Lake Ontario, was at 99 percent of capacity on Nov. 15.

Some reactors close for maintenance and refueling during the spring and fall, when demand for heating and cooling is lower. The outages can increase use of natural gas and coal to generate electricity in place of nuclear power.

The average U.S. reactor refueling outage lasted 41 days in 2009, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute.

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