Nebraska Utility Raises Cooper Power as Nuclear Output Gains

Nebraska Public Power District raised output from the 830-megawatt Cooper 1 reactor, sending U.S. nuclear-power production higher for a fourth day.

Total U.S. generation advanced by 0.2 percent to 81,714 megawatts, or 80 percent of capacity, the highest level since Oct. 11, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 11 percent less than a year ago with 17 of 104 nuclear reactors offline.

Cooper 1, about 64 miles (103 kilometers) south of Omaha, operated at 50 percent of capacity, up from 15 percent yesterday. The unit is coming back online after refueling and maintenance that began last month, according to Mark Becker, a spokesman for the utility.

The plant synced to the electrical grid at about 5:11 p.m. yesterday, Becker, who is based in Columbus, Nebraska, said in an e-mail today. The unit “should be back at 100 percent sometime over the weekend,” he said.

Cooper 1, which was formerly on an 18-month fuel cycle, will run for 24 months before another refueling outage, he said.

Nebraska Public Power’s boost extended gains in Western regional output for a third day. Generation increased 2.5 percent to 19,465 megawatts, the highest since Oct. 5. Output in the Southeast gained 0.5 percent to 22,885 megawatts.

Oconee, Susquehanna

Duke Energy Corp. started its 846-megawatt Oconee 1 reactor in South Carolina after shutting it Oct. 26 for refueling, NRC reports show. The unit is about 30 miles west of Greenville and operated at 20 percent of capacity.

In addition to refueling, crews upgraded controls on feed water pumps, made modifications to the fuel transfer system and completed a 10-year service inspection of the reactor vessel, said Sandra Magee, a company spokeswoman based at the plant.

“We did identify a cracked screw during inspection and we removed that screw and replaced it,” Magee said in a phone interview today. “The unit is coming back into service and continues to escalate in power.”

Susquehanna 2, a PPL Corp. reactor with the capacity to generate 1,140 megawatts near Brunswick, Pennsylvania, ran at 22 percent of capacity early today. The unit reconnected to the grid yesterday after repairs to a hydraulic system associated with the main turbine, according to a company statement.

“We made repairs and, as part of our normal process for resolving plant issues, we also inspected the soundness of other related equipments,” Timothy Rausch, PPL’s Susquehanna senior vice president and chief nuclear officer, said in the statement.

Oyster Creek

Exelon Corp. started its 619-megawatt Oyster Creek 1 in New Jersey and boosted output to 2 percent of capacity early today. The unit shut Oct. 21 for refueling and maintenance, according to Suzanne D’Ambrosio, a plant spokeswoman.

During the closing, crews detected two pipe welds that needed to be repaired and tested before restart, D’Ambrosio, who is based at the plant, said in an e-mail today.

Constellation Energy Group Inc.’s 621-megawatt Nine Mile Point 1 in New York operated at 22 percent of power, down from 87 percent yesterday. The unit was taken off the grid at 4:30 a.m. to conduct turbine system repairs, said Jill Lyon, a company spokeswoman based in Scriba, New York.

Crews identified “abnormal indications on the turbine luke oil system,” on Nov. 12, Lyon said.

Output in the Northeastern region declined by 0.8 percent to 22,035 megawatts to snap a three-day advance.

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 43 days in 2011, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute.

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