Nuclear Output Falls to 1-Week Low on Wolf Creek Reactor

U.S. nuclear-power generation fell for a third day as Great Plains Energy Inc. shut the Wolf Creek plant in Kansas.

Nationwide production dropped 1.2 percent to 93,232 megawatts, or 91 percent of capacity, the lowest level since Jan. 28, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 1.4 percent higher than a year ago, with eight of 104 reactors offline.

Wolf Creek 1, a 1,166-megawatt unit about 3.5 miles (5.6 kilometers) northeast of Burlington, Kansas, was shut early today after operating at full power yesterday. Cassie Bailey, a company spokeswoman at the plant, said the unit would be closed for eight weeks for refueling.

Output in the NRC’s West region, which includes Wolf Creek, fell 6.4 percent to 17,507 megawatts, the lowest level for the date in records going back to 1996. Six of the eight shut U.S. reactors are in the region.

The 1,149-megawatt Diablo Canyon 2 reactor, about 12 miles southwest of San Luis Obispo, California, was shut Feb. 3 for refueling, according to a statement today from PG&E Corp., which operates the plant.

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.