U.S. Nuclear Output Little Changed as PSEG Boosts Salem Reactors

U.S. nuclear-power output was little changed as Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. increased production at the Salem 1 and 2 reactors in New Jersey, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said.

Power generation nationwide increased by 86 megawatts from yesterday to 83,762 megawatts, or 82 percent of capacity, according to a report today from the NRC and data compiled by Bloomberg. Eighteen of the nation’s 104 reactors were offline.

Public Service increased output at the 1,174-megawatt Salem 1 to full power from 90 percent of capacity yesterday. The 1,130-megawatt Salem 2 was boosted to 90 percent of capacity from 86 percent yesterday.

The plant is about 18 miles (29 kilometers) south of Wilmington, Delaware.

Exelon Corp. determined more repairs are needed on the reactor vessel head of the 1,164-megawatt Byron 1 unit in Illinois, the NRC said in a report.

The reactor, which has been shut for refueling and maintenance since March 14, is 85 miles west of Chicago. The 1,136-megawatt Byron 2 is operating at 96 percent of capacity.

Exelon is also reviewing an auxiliary feedwater system configuration on both units that “significantly degrades plant safety,” according to an NRC report.

A similar condition was being examined at Exelon’s Braidwood plant, which has two reactors about 54 miles southwest of Chicago, the agency said. Both units are operating at full power, together producing about 2,300 megawatts.

A control rod malfunction occurred during a test at Duke Energy Corp.’s McGuire 2 reactor in North Carolina, the NRC reported.

The unit will remain in cold shutdown until troubleshooting and repairs are completed, the agency said. The 1,100-megawatt unit has been closed for refueling and maintenance since Feb. 28.

The 1,100-megawatt McGuire 1 is operating at full power. The plant is 15 miles north of Charlotte.

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

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

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