U.S. Nuclear Output Little Changed as Surry 1 Starts in Virginia

U.S. nuclear output was little changed as Dominion Resources Inc. started a reactor in Virginia and boosted its Millstone unit in Connecticut, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission report today showed.

Production from U.S. plants slipped by 186 megawatts to 94,291 megawatts, or 93 percent of capacity, from 94,477 megawatts yesterday, according to the report from the NRC and data compiled by Bloomberg. Four of 104 plants were offline.

Dominion Resources Inc. started its 799-megawatt Surry 1 reactor, located about 17 miles (27 kilometers) northwest of Newport News. The unit is operating at 5 percent of capacity.

Surry 2, another reactor at the site, is operating at 98 percent of capacity.

Dominion also increased output at its 884-megawatt Millstone 2 reactor in Connecticut to full power from 76 percent of capacity yesterday. The unit automatically shut down on Nov. 28 when a water pump tripped offline.

Another reactor at the site, Millstone 3, is at full power. The plant is located about 3 miles southwest of New London.

DTE Energy Co. switched on its 1,122-megawatt Fermi reactor in Michigan and it was operating at 1 percent of capacity. The unit tripped offline on Oct. 24 because of a loss of condenser vacuum, the NRC said. The Fermi plant is 35 miles south of Detroit, where DTE is based.

Oyster Creek

Exelon boosted its 619-megawatt Oyster Creek reactor in New Jersey to 35 percent of capacity from 1 percent yesterday after shutting it for refueling and maintenance on Nov. 1.

The unit, located 45 miles north of Atlantic City, suffered a malfunctioning recirculation pump during startup yesterday, David Benson, a spokesman at the company, said in a telephone interview late yesterday. The cause was being investigated, he said.

The Tennessee Valley Authority slowed its 1,065-megawatt Browns Ferry 1 reactor in Alabama to 42 percent of capacity from full power yesterday. The unit started on Nov. 23 after shutting for refueling on Oct. 25. Two other reactors at the plant, located 32 miles west of Huntsville, are at full power.

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.

The four shut reactors are Crystal River in Florida, Duane Arnold in Iowa, the D.C. Cook Unit 2 in Michigan and the San Onofre 3 in California.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE