Nuclear Output Gains Most in Month on Energy Future Start
U.S. production rose 1.6 percent to 75,146 megawatts, or 74 percent of capacity, the biggest increase since March 22, according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 1.5 percent lower than a year earlier with 24 of 104 nuclear reactors offline.
Energy Future’s Comanche Peak 1, about 66 miles (106 kilometers) southwest of Dallas, operated at 45 percent of capacity early today. The unit, which was shut for refueling March 30, led Western nuclear production higher by 3.8 percent to 15,060 megawatts, the biggest gain since Jan. 19.
Generation in the Southeastern and Midwestern regions increased as NextEra Energy Inc. (NEE) boosted output at two plants.
NextEra’s 720-megawatt Turkey Point 4 reactor 20 miles south of Miami ran at 29 percent of capacity, compared with 2 percent yesterday. The unit was shut in early November for a refueling and maintenance project that was expected to last four months, said Bianca Cruz, a plant spokeswoman based in Homestead, Florida.
The increase sent Southeastern production higher by 1.1 percent to 25,307 megawatts, the second-biggest gain among the NRC regions, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
NextEra also raised output at the 512-megawatt Point Beach 1 reactor, 30 miles southeast of Green Bay, Wisconsin, boosting Midwestern generation to 14,795 megawatts. The plant returned to full power from 74 percent yesterday after refueling.
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.
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