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U.S. Nuclear Output Jumps as Progress Boosts Robinson

U.S. nuclear production rose to a seven-week high on output gains at Progress Energy Inc.’s Robinson 2 reactor in South Carolina and Entergy Corp.’s FitzPatrick plant in New York, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission report today showed.

Output from U.S. plants since Nov. 19 increased by 2,619 megawatts, or 3 percent, to 89,310 megawatts, or 88 percent of capacity, according to the report from the NRC and data compiled by Bloomberg. Twelve of 104 plants are offline.

Progress boosted its 710-megawatt Robinson 2 reactor to full power from 67 percent of capacity on Nov. 19. The plant is located 26 miles (42 kilometers) northwest of Florence, South Carolina.

Entergy raised output at its 852-megawatt FitzPatrick reactor to 83 percent of capacity from 62 percent on Nov. 19 after maintenance. The plant is located 6 miles northeast of Oswego, New York, on Lake Ontario.

Entergy reduced its 989-megawatt River Bend 1 reactor in Louisiana to 53 percent of capacity from 100 percent on Nov. 19. The unit reactor is located about 24 miles northwest of Baton Rouge.

Duke Energy increased output at its 846-megawatt Oconee 3 reactor to full power from 1 percent of capacity on Nov. 19. The unit was shut for refueling on Oct. 25. The plant is located about 30 miles west of Greenville, South Carolina. Oconee 1 and 2 are running at full power.

Pennsylvania Plant

Exelon Corp. boosted its 1,112-megawatt Peach Bottom 3 reactor in Pennsylvania to 95 percent of capacity from 1 percent on Nov. 19 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. raised output at its 851-megawatt Farley 1 reactor in Alabama to 80 percent of capacity from 30 percent on Nov. 19. 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 raised output at its 1,148-megawatt Sequoyah 1 reactor to full power from 50 percent of capacity on Nov. 19 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. The unit is located about 10 miles northeast of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Millstone 2

Dominion Resources Inc. shut its 884-megawatt Millstone 2 reactor in Connecticut on Nov. 19 to repair a feedwater valve in the containment building, Ken Holt, a spokesman at the plant, said in a telephone interview. The unit reconnected to the grid yesterday and was at 80 percent of capacity on its way to full power by later today, he said.

Another reactor at the site, Millstone 3, is at 100 percent of capacity. The plant is located about 3 miles southwest of New London.

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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