Nuclear Output Gains as TVA Connects Plant to Power Grid

U.S. nuclear-power production rose for a third day as the Tennessee Valley Authority boosted output at the 1,104-megawatt Browns Ferry 2 reactor in Alabama and reconnected to the grid.

Total generation increased by 664 megawatts, or 0.7 percent, to 91,705 megawatts, the highest level since Sept. 14, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Capacity was 89 percent, the same as yesterday, while output was 3.5 percent less than a year ago with nine of 104 nuclear reactors offline.

TVA’s Browns Ferry 2 operated at 82 percent of capacity at 8:30 a.m. local time, said Ray Golden, a company spokesman. The unit, 84 miles (135 kilometers) north of Birmingham, was at 19 percent when the NRC issued its daily report.

“We are continuing to escalate and anticipate it could be at full power some time later today,” Golden, who’s based in Knoxville, Tennessee, said in a phone interview today.

The reactor shut Dec. 22 because of a power interruption to protection systems that control a number of systems throughout the unit, Golden said. Prior to the shutdown, Browns Ferry 2 set a record for continuous operation of 562 days, he said.

The increase sent nuclear output higher by 2.5 percent to 27,568 megawatts in the NRC’s Southeast region, a third consecutive advance, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.

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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