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Nuclear Output Rises as Entergy Boosts Power at Pilgrim 1

U.S. nuclear generation rose for the first time in four days as Entergy Corp. increased power at a reactor in Massachusetts. Duke Energy Corp. said it will permanently shut its Crystal River 3 reactor in Florida,

Total production increased 37 megawatts to 93,269 megawatts, or 91 percent of capacity, the first gain since Feb. 1, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 1.6 percent higher than a year ago, with eight of 104 reactors offline.

Duke said it was closing the Crystal River reactor, which has been idle since 2009, after deciding the risks and costs associated with repairing it outweighed the benefits.

The 685-megawatt Pilgrim 1, about 38 miles southeast of Boston, operated at 87 percent of capacity early today, up from 80 percent yesterday. The plant was slowed so technicians could reseat a pilot valve, Carol Wightman, a company spokeswoman based at the unit, said in an e-mail yesterday.

“We are in the process of increasing plant output,” she said.

Production was higher than a year ago in every region except the West. Output there was 4.8 percent lower after two reactors, Wolf Creek 1 in Kansas and Diablo Canyon 2 in California, were recently shut for eight-week refueling outages.

Reactor maintenance shutdowns, usually undertaken in the U.S. spring or fall when energy use is at its lowest, may increase consumption of natural gas and coal to generate electricity. The average refueling down time was 46 days in 2012, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute.

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