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Nuclear Output Rises From 5-Month Low on 2 Reactor Boosts

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April 19 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. nuclear-power production rose from the lowest level since Nov. 2 after Great Plains Energy Inc. and NextEra Energy Inc. increased capacity at two reactors.

Nationwide generation gained 0.7 percent to 73,070 megawatts, or 72 percent of capacity, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 5.6 percent less than a year ago with 26 of 104 reactors offline.

Great Plains raised output to 97 percent of capacity at its 1,166-megawatt Wolf Creek 1 reactor from 82 percent yesterday. The unit, about 55 miles (88 kilometers) south of Topeka, Kansas, is returning from refueling.

NextEra’s Point Beach 1 reactor, which operated at 41 percent of capacity compared with 13 percent yesterday, is also accelerating after a refueling shutdown.

The 512-megawatt unit 30 miles southeast of Green Bay, Wisconsin, boosted production to 14,493 megawatts in the Midwest. Generation in the West gained for a third consecutive day, rising to 14,217 megawatts, the highest level since March 31, NRC data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christine Harvey in New York at charvey32@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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