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U.S. Nuclear Output Snaps Winning Streak as LaSalle Shuts

U.S. nuclear-power production fell for the first time in six days after Exelon Corp. shut the 1,120-megawatt LaSalle 2 reactor in Illinois.

Nationwide generation declined 0.3 percent to 77,828 megawatts, or 76 percent of capacity, according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 0.9 percent lower than a year ago with 23 of 104 reactors offline.

LaSalle 2, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) southwest of Chicago, shut after operating at 20 percent of capacity yesterday because of loss of condenser circulating water, according to the NRC. The unit had been ramping up after being halted April 17 by a power loss that also closed a twin reactor.

NextEra Energy Inc.’s 512-megawatt Point Beach 2 reactor operated at 55 percent of capacity, down from 100 percent yesterday. The two-unit plant 30 miles southeast of Green Bay, Wisconsin, reduced power for maintenance on a pump on the non-nuclear side of the station, said Sara Cassidy, a spokeswoman at the plant.

Nuclear output fell by 3.1 percent to 14,554 megawatts in the Midwest. Production in the West dropped by 10 megawatts as Entergy Corp. slowed its 989-megawatt River Bend 1 reactor near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to 98 percent from full power.

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 46 days in 2012, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute.

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