Great Plains Boost Lifts U.S. Nuclear-Power Production

U.S. nuclear-power generation rose for a third day as Great Plains Energy Inc. boosted output at the 1,166-megawatt Wolf Creek 1 reactor in Kansas.

Nationwide production advanced 0.4 percent to 80,340 megawatts, or 79 percent of capacity, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 5.4 percent less than a year ago with 19 of 104 reactors shut.

Wolf Creek 1, about 55 miles (88 kilometers) south of Topeka, ran at 28 percent of capacity today compared with 1 percent yesterday. The unit shut last week for repairs related to safety equipment and increased temperatures, according to Cassie Bailey, a spokeswoman at the plant.

Operators connected the generator to the electrical system yesterday, she said. “Plant personnel have made all of the necessary repairs, and operators are in the process of bringing the plant back to 100 percent power.”

The 315-megawatt gain led Western nuclear output higher by 2 percent to 15,752 megawatts, the biggest increase since May 5. Southeastern generation climbed 0.5 percent to 28,747 megawatts as Duke Energy Corp. raised power to Brunswick 2. The 937-megawatt reactor near Wilmington, North Carolina, operated at 93 percent of capacity today, up from 52 percent yesterday.

Duke’s 900-megawatt Harris 1 reactor slowed to 75 percent of capacity for planned semi-annual turbine valve testing, said Kim Crawford, a spokeswoman at the plant. Harris 1, which operated at 100 percent yesterday, is about 20 miles southwest of Raleigh, North Carolina.

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.