Nuclear Output Falls to 22-Day Low as Two Reactors Shut

U.S. nuclear-power generation fell to the lowest level in three weeks as reactors shut in Louisiana and Ohio.

Output dropped 2.5 percent to 90,979 megawatts, or 89 percent of capacity, the least since Dec. 31, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Production was 3.2 percent below a year ago, with 10 of 104 reactors offline.

Entergy Corp. shut the 1,250-megawatt Waterford 3 reactor, which operated at 85 percent of capacity yesterday, according to a filing with the commission. The plant, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of New Orleans, automatically tripped offline after one of the steam generators reached a “low level condition,” the filing showed.

“The cause is still under investigation but initial indications are that we had a problem with one of the feedwater pumps,” Carl Rhode, a company spokesman based at the plant, said in an e-mail.

Feedwater pumps supply water to steam generators. The Waterford unit went online last week for the first time in three months after Entergy replaced two steam generators, a reactor vessel head and a coolant pump.

Perry Trip

The 1,261-megawatt Perry 1 plant operated by FirstEnergy Corp. tripped offline early today. The unit, 35 miles northeast of Cleveland, was at full power until its water level began to drop, Jennifer Young, a company spokeswoman based in Akron, Ohio, said in an e-mail. The levels have been restored to normal, she said.

“The plant will remain shut down until the issue is fully understood and resolved,” Young said.

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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