Nuclear Output Rises as Plants Rebound in the Northeast

U.S. nuclear-power generation rose, reversing losses yesterday, as PPL Corp. and Entergy Corp. boosted output in the Northeast.

Total production increased 0.2 percent to 93,247 megawatts, or 91 percent of capacity, the biggest daily gain since Feb. 1, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 1.9 percent higher than a year ago, with eight of 104 reactors offline.

PPL’s 1,140-megawatt Susquehanna 2 operated at 98 percent of capacity, up from 85 percent yesterday. The reactor was slowed for scheduled maintenance and is returning to full power, the company said. The two-unit plant is about 70 miles (112 kilometers) northeast of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Susquehanna 1 was operating at 99 percent of capacity.

Pilgrim 1, a 685-megawatt reactor 38 miles southeast of Boston, rose to 83 percent power from 80 percent yesterday. Output was reduced Feb. 3 so technicians could reseat a pilot valve, according to Carol Wightman, an Entergy spokeswoman based at the plant.

Production was higher than a year ago in every region except the West. Output there was 17,546 megawatts, down 5.4 percent from a year ago. Two reactors in the region, Wolf Creek 1 in Kansas and Diablo Canyon 2 in California, were shut earlier this week for refueling.

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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