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U.S. Nuclear Output Falls on Reactor Drops in Midwest, Southeast

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Dec. 11 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. nuclear power generation fell for the third time in four days as reactors in Nebraska and North Carolina lowered output.

Production slid 0.3 percent to 89,842 megawatts, or 88 percent of capacity, 2.4 percent lower than a year earlier, according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Eleven of 104 U.S. reactors were offline.

Nebraska Public Power District’s Cooper 1, a 830-megawatt reactor 64 miles (103 kilometers) south of Omaha, was lowered to 71 percent of capacity from 100 percent yesterday.

Output at Brunswick 2, Progress Energy’s 937-megawatt reactor 130 miles south of Raleigh, North Carolina, decreased by 122 megawatts to 62 percent of capacity from 75 percent.

Midwestern generation rose by 59 megawatts as production at NextEra Energy Inc.’s Duane Arnold 1 reactor increased to 531 megawatts, or 83 percent of production.

Output in the Northeast was steady, with all 26 reactors operating at 100 percent of capacity.

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: Joshua Falk in New York at jfalk19@bloomberg.net

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

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