Dominion Boost Leads U.S. Nuclear Production Higher

Dominion Resources Inc. returned the 799-megawatt Surry 2 reactor to full power in Virginia, lifting U.S. nuclear-power production for a ninth day, the longest stretch of gains since May.

U.S. generation increased 2.4 percent to 88,703 megawatts, or 87 percent of capacity, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 5.8 percent less than a year earlier with 12 of the 104 reactors offline.

Surry 2, about 17 miles (27 kilometers) northwest of Newport News, ran at full power, compared with 38 percent of capacity yesterday. The unit resumed service after a refueling outage that began Oct. 31, commission filings showed.

During the outage, crews inspected the service water piping system and the reactor vessel head, Rick Zuercher, a company spokesman based near Richmond, said in a phone interview. “We did numerous inspections and maintenance activities related to refueling.”

Duke Energy Corp.’s McGuire 2 reactor in North Carolina operated at 74 percent of power from 45 percent yesterday. The 1,100-megawatt unit slowed last week after a turbine trip, said Valerie Patterson, a spokeswoman based at the plant.

Output at Surry 2 and McGuire 2 led nuclear production higher by 3.6 percent to 25,613 megawatts in the Southeast, the highest level since Oct. 7. Generation advanced 1.7 percent to 24,792 megawatts in the Northeast.

Refueling, Repairs

Constellation Energy Group Inc. boosted the Nine Mile Point 1 reactor in New York to 80 percent of capacity. The 621-megawatt unit, which shut Nov. 30 for turbine repairs, operated at 75 percent of power at 8 a.m. yesterday, according to Jill Lyon, a company spokeswoman based in Scriba, New York.

Oyster Creek 1, an Exelon Corp. plant near Atlantic City, New Jersey, was at 99 percent of power early today, up from 74 percent yesterday. The reactor, which has the capacity to generate 619 megawatts, is accelerating to full power after completing a refueling shutdown that began Oct. 21, said Suzanne D’Ambrosio, a company spokeswoman based at the plant.

Nuclear-power production in the West gained 3 percent to 19,938 megawatts, the highest since Oct. 1. PG&E Corp.’s Diablo Canyon 1 led the increase as the company returned the 1,151-megawatt unit to full power today from 50 percent yesterday. Output in the Midwest increased to 18,361 megawatts.

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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