U.S. Nuclear Output at 8-Week High on TVA, Xcel Boosts

U.S. nuclear-power generation rose to the highest level in seven weeks as the Tennessee Valley Authority and Xcel Energy Inc. increased power to reactors in Alabama and Minnesota.

Nationwide production climbed 0.6 percent to 82,867 megawatts, or 81 percent of capacity, the most since March 14, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 6.2 percent higher than a year ago with 18 of 104 reactors offline.

TVA’s 1,104-megawatt Browns Ferry 2 reactor, about 84 miles (135 kilometers) north of Birmingham, Alabama, advanced to 47 percent of capacity from 16 percent yesterday. The unit shut March 14 for refueling and maintenance.

The 551-megawatt Prairie Island 1 plant, operated by Xcel Energy about 40 miles southeast of Minneapolis, returned to full capacity after running at 39 percent yesterday.

The unit reduced power over the weekend for scheduled condenser cleaning, Tom Hoen, a company spokesman based in Minneapolis, said in an e-mail.

Browns Ferry led output higher by 0.7 percent to 26,938 megawatts in the Southeast, while Prairie Island raised Midwestern generation by 0.6 percent to 16,662 megawatts.

Entergy Corp.’s 852-megawatt Fitzpatrick 1 reactor near Oswego, New York, operated at 100 percent of capacity today from 75 percent yesterday. The advance led Northeastern production to 20,075 megawatts. Western output was unchanged.

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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