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Duke’s McGuire 1 Leads Nuclear Output to 11-Week Low

U.S. nuclear-power production fell for the first time in four days after Duke Energy Corp.’s McGuire 1 reactor tripped offline in North Carolina.

Generation slipped 1.1 percent to 85,008 megawatts, or 83 percent of capacity, the lowest level since Dec. 2, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 2.4 percent lower than a year ago, reaching the lowest level for the date since 2000, with 15 of 104 reactors offline.

The 1,100-megawatt McGuire 1 shut yesterday after a loss of both main feedwater pumps, which supply water to the steam generator, a filing with the commission showed. McGuire 2, unaffected by the incident, operated at full power.

The plant, 17 miles (27 kilometers) north of Charlotte, led output lower in the Southeast, where generation slid 4.2 percent. Southern Co. slowed the 1,127-megawatt Vogtle 2 reactor, about 26 miles southeast of Augusta, Georgia, to 95 percent of capacity from 96 percent yesterday.

“Unit 2 is beginning a coast-down in preparation for a planned refueling and maintenance outage,” Amoi Geter, a company spokeswoman based in Birmingham, Alabama, said in an e-mail.

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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