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U.S. Nuclear Output Falls on Great Plains Plant Shutdown

Nuclear-power generation in the U.S. fell after Great Plains Energy Inc. shut the 1,166-megawatt Wolf Creek 1 reactor in Kansas.

Nationwide production dropped 0.9 percent to 82,143 megawatts, or 81 percent of capacity, the lowest level since May 2, according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 4.9 percent higher than a year ago with 19 of 104 reactors offline.

Wolf Creek, about 55 miles (88 kilometers) south of Topeka, was shut yesterday after safety-related electrical equipment was deemed inoperable because of an air conditioning unit that wasn’t functioning properly, according to a commission report. The unit operated at full power yesterday.

The closing pulled nuclear generation lower in the West by 6.1 percent to 18,026 megawatts, the biggest decline among the NRC’s four regions. Output also fell in the Northeast after Entergy Corp.’s 852-megawatt FitzPatrick 1 reactor dropped to 89 percent of power from 100 percent yesterday.

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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