Nuclear Output Rises as Exelon Returns Reactor to 100%

U.S. nuclear-power production advanced for a second day as Exelon Corp. returned its 1,134-megawatt Limerick 2 reactor to full power in Pennsylvania.

Generation nationwide gained 1.1 percent to 92,828 megawatts, or 91 percent of capacity, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 3.3 percent less than a year ago with seven of 104 units shut.

Limerick 2, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of Philadelphia, was at 100 percent of capacity early today compared with 65 percent yesterday, when an emergency ventilation system was removed from service for maintenance, according to an NRC report.

The removal of the system “was unrelated to the reduction in power that occurred over the weekend,” Dana Melia, a spokeswoman at the plant, said in an e-mail today. “Both units are operating at full power as of this morning.”

Limerick 2’s boost lifted production by 1.7 percent to 24,899 megawatts in the NRC’s Northeastern region. Output in the Southeast rose 0.8 percent to 29,569 megawatts, the highest level since July 15.

The Tennessee Valley Authority’s Sequoyah 2 reactor led the southeastern gain after advancing by 248 megawatts to 56 percent of capacity. The 1,126-megawatt unit, which yesterday operated at 34 percent, is returning to service after completing refueling and maintenance that began Oct. 15.

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 43 days in 2011, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute.

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