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TVA’s Browns Ferry 3 Pushes U.S. Nuclear Output Higher

Nuclear-power generation rose for a third day in the U.S. as output increased at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Browns Ferry plant.

Nationwide production climbed 0.2 percent to 85,953 megawatts, or 84 percent of capacity, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 1.7 percent lower than a year ago with 15 of 104 reactors offline.

Browns Ferry 3, a 1,115-megawatt unit, operated at 19 percent of capacity today. The reactor, about 32 miles (51 kilometers) west of Huntsville, Alabama, was shut Feb. 11 for maintenance on the condenser cooling water system.

“It’s activated and ramping up, and the repairs on the system are complete,” Mike Bradley, a company spokesman based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, said in a telephone interview.

Unit 2, which will close in mid-March for refueling and maintenance, was at 91 percent of capacity, down from 92 percent yesterday. Browns Ferry 1 operated at full power. The three units can produce as much as 3,284 megawatts combined, the second most in the U.S.

Output in the Southeast increased 0.7 percent, a third straight gain, while production in other regions was unchanged.

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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