Duke Boost Sends Southeastern Nuclear Output to Two-Month High

Dec. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Duke Energy Corp. boosted production at the 1,100-megawatt McGuire 2 reactor in North Carolina, lifting nuclear-power output in the Southeast to the highest level in almost two months.

U.S. generation advanced 0.4 percent to 89,017 megawatts, or 87 percent of capacity, the 10th consecutive day of gains, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 5.7 percent lower than a year earlier with 12 of 104 reactors offline.

McGuire 2, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) north of Charlotte, operated at 93 percent of capacity today, up from 74 percent yesterday. The unit is powering up after a turbine trip that caused it to slow last week, said Valerie Patterson, a company spokeswoman based at the plant.

The increase led production higher by 0.7 percent to 25,782 megawatts in the Southeast, the highest level since Oct. 7. Five reactors with a combined capacity of 4,779 megawatts, about 15 percent of the region’s output, are shut.

Generation in the Northeast gained 0.4 percent to 24,893 megawatts as Constellation Energy Group Inc. returned the Nine Mile Point 1 reactor to full power near Oswego, New York. The 621-megawatt unit, which shut Nov. 30 for turbine repairs, operated at 80 percent of capacity yesterday.

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.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christine Harvey in New York at charvey32@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net