Nuclear Output Climbs as Waterford 3 Resumes Operation

U.S. nuclear-power generation climbed as Entergy Corp.’s Waterford 3 plant resumed operation.

Production nationwide increased 0.1 percent to 92,503 megawatts, or 91 percent of capacity, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was down 0.1 percent from a year ago, with seven of 104 plants offline.

Waterford 3, a 1,250-megawatt plant about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of New Orleans, went online for the first time since Oct. 16. The reactor operated at 18 percent of capacity, or 225 megawatts, early today. Entergy shut the unit for refueling and maintenance, replacing two steam generators, a reactor vessel head and a coolant pump, Carl Rhode, a company spokesman at the plant, said in an e-mail today.

“Operators are currently in the process of returning the unit to full power,” Rhode said.

Entergy boosted power at Pilgrim 1, located 38 miles southeast of Boston, to 90 percent from 50 percent yesterday. The 685-megawatt plant’s was reconnected to the grid two days ago after its recirculation pumps tripped offline last week.

Production in the Northeast rose 1.7 percent as a result, the region’s third consecutive daily increase.

Western Production

Western output fell as the 1,335-megawatt Palo Verde 3 reactor, operated by Pinnacle West Capital Corp. 50 miles west of Phoenix, dropped to 57 percent capacity from full power after a heater drain pump trip yesterday. The unit was operating near 80 percent capacity as of 12:20 p.m. New York time, said Betty Dayyo, a company spokeswoman in Phoenix.

“The unit will stay at 90 percent power until the work is complete,” Dayyo said.

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

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