TVA Boosts Southeastern Nuclear Ouput to 16-Month High

The Tennessee Valley Authority raised production at the 1,126-megawatt Sequoyah 2 reactor for a third day, boosting nuclear output in the Southeast to the highest level in 16 months.

Total U.S. generation gained 0.5 percent from yesterday to 93,251 megawatts, or 91 percent of capacity, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 3.2 percent less than a year ago with six of 104 nuclear reactors offline.

TVA increased Sequoyah 2 to 97 percent of capacity early today, compared with 56 percent yesterday. The unit, which is situated about 17 miles (27 kilometers) northeast of Chattanooga, Tennessee, is returning to full power after completing refueling and maintenance that began Oct. 15.

The reactor’s gain led generation higher by 1.5 percent to 30,007 megawatts in the Southeast, the highest level since Aug. 22, 2011, commission data compiled by Bloomberg show. The Southeast, the NRC’s Region 2, covers an area from Florida to Virginia and west to Mississippi.

Output rose by 66 megawatts to 20,957 megawatts in the Midwest, or Region 3, on an increase in output at Xcel Energy Inc.’s Prairie Island 1 reactor in Minnesota. The 551-megawatt unit operated at 93 percent of power from 81 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 43 days in 2011, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute.

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