Nuclear Output Rampus Up for Fifth Day on Duke, PPL Units

Nuclear-power production gained for a fifth day in the U.S., led by boosts at PPL Corp. and Duke Energy Corp. reactors in Pennsylvania and South Carolina.

Total production gained 0.5 percent to 91,492 megawatts, or 90 percent of capacity, the highest level since Sept. 14, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 3.8 percent less than a year ago with nine of 104 reactor offline.

PPL’s Susquehanna 2, which can generate 1,140 megawatts, operated at 15 percent of capacity compared with 1 percent yesterday. The unit began supplying electricity to the grid today for the first time since it automatically shut Dec. 16 during a turbine valve test, according to a company statement.

“An unrelated issue with the positioning of a valve in one of the unit’s main water pumps during startup activities extended the out-of-service time,” PPL said. Susquehanna is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Allentown.

The 1,129-megawatt Catawba 1 reactor owned by Duke returned to service today after completing a refueling outage that began in late November, Mary Kathryn Green, a company spokeswoman based at the plant, said in an e-mail. The unit is about 17 miles southwest of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Southeast Output

Output in the NRC’s Southeastern region, from Florida to Virginia, gained 1 percent to 27,837 megawatts, the biggest increase in the U.S. The Tennessee Valley Authority’s 1,104-megawatt Browns Ferry 2 reactor contributed to the advance as it operated at 89 percent of capacity, up from 78 percent yesterday.

Generation increased by 0.7 percent to 23,930 megawatts in the commission’s Northeastern region covering Maryland to Maine. That’s 4.1 percent higher than the same day a year ago as all reactors in the region were operating, according to NRC data compiled by Bloomberg.

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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