Nuclear Output Climbs for a Fourth Day on Grand Gulf 1

U.S. nuclear-power production rose for a fourth day as Entergy Corp. boosted output at the Grand Gulf 1 reactor in Mississippi.

Total generation increased 0.3 percent to 94,900 megawatts, or 93 percent of capacity, the highest level since Sept. 7, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 2.6 percent higher than a year ago, with six of 104 reactors offline.

The 1,297-megawatt Grand Gulf 1 reactor operated at 94 percent power early today, up from 48 percent yesterday. The plant, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Vicksburg, Mississippi, is returning to full power after a generator trip Jan. 14. The shutdown was caused by an electrical fault in the conductors that connect the generator to the main power transformer, Mike Bowling, a company spokesman, said yesterday.

“The issue was corrected during this outage,” said Bowling, who is based in Jackson.

Turkey Point 3, a 720-megawatt reactor operated by NextEra Energy Inc., increased output to 60 percent of capacity from 50 percent yesterday. The unit, 20 miles south of Miami, Florida, was slowed Jan. 29 for planned turbine-valve testing and routine maintenance on equipment, Bianca Cruz, a plant spokeswoman based in Homestead, said yesterday.

Production in the NRC’s West Region, which includes Grand Gulf 1, rose for a third consecutive day. The Midwest’s three-day climb reversed course as the 1,261-megawatt Perry 1’s output dropped to 68 percent of capacity from 92 percent yesterday. FirstEnergy Corp. is returning Perry 1 to full power.

“This is part of the normal power ascension process and occurs when we make control rod adjustments to optimize power flow,” Jennifer Young, a company spokeswoman based in Akron, Ohio, said in an e-mail.

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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