Tennessee Valley Reactor Leads Advance for Nuclear Output

The Tennessee Valley Authority returned the 1,104-megawatt Browns Ferry 2 reactor to service in Alabama, leading an increase in U.S. nuclear-power production.

Generation nationwide gained 0.2 percent from yesterday to 90,411 megawatts, or 89 percent of capacity, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 5 percent less than a year ago with 11 of 104 nuclear reactors offline.

Browns Ferry 2 operated at 20 percent of capacity today after shutting Dec. 22 because of a power interruption to two reactor protection systems, said Ray Golden, a company spokesman based in Knoxville, Tennessee. The plant is about 84 miles (135 kilometers) north of Birmingham, Alabama.

“Reactor protection systems control a number of systems throughout the unit, and all systems affected by the loss of power responded as designed,” the company said in a statement e-mailed to Bloomberg on Dec. 24. “The NRC resident inspector was notified and an investigation is under way to determine the cause of the power loss.”

The increase led production higher by 210 megawatts in the NRC’s Southeastern region.

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.