Nuclear Output Rises as Progress Boosts Robinson Reactor

U.S. nuclear-power production rose as Progress Energy Inc. returned the Robinson 2 reactor in South Carolina to full power.

Nationwide generation increased 0.2 percent to 85,570 megawatts, or 84 percent of capacity, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 4.5 percent lower than a year ago, with 16 of 104 reactors offline.

The 710-megawatt Robinson 2 operated at full capacity early today, up from 52 percent yesterday. The plant is about 26 miles (42 kilometers) northwest of Florence, South Carolina.

Output in the Midwest climbed as the 512-megawatt Point Beach 1 operated by NextEra Energy Inc. returned to full power from 98 percent of capacity yesterday. The reactor is 13 miles northwest of Manitoc, Wisconsin.

FirstEnergy Corp.’s 1,261-megawatt Perry 1 plant, 35 miles northeast of Cleveland, rose to 97 percent of capacity from 96 percent yesterday.

Production was lower than year-earlier levels in three of the NRC regions, all except the Northeast. In the West, output was 10.7 percent lower than a year ago, with seven closed reactors. Three have shut for refueling since Feb. 1, pushing production down 16 percent so far this month.

Refueling Shutdowns

River Bend 1, a 989-megawatt Entergy Corp. reactor, was halted Feb. 16 for refueling and maintenance, Katie Damratoski, a company spokeswoman based in St. Francisville, Louisiana, said in an e-mail today. The plant is about 24 miles northwest of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

In the Midwest, Entergy’s 778-megawatt Palisades 1 reactor, 5 miles south of South Haven, Michigan, shut Feb. 15 for repairs on the cooling water heat exchanger system and the main generator disconnect switch, Mark Savage, a company spokesman based in Covert, Michigan, said in an e-mail.

In the Northeast, Constellation Energy Group Inc. closed Calvert Cliffs 2 for planned refueling and maintenance Feb. 17, Kory Raftery, a spokesman based at the plant, said in an e-mail. The unit produces as much as 862 megawatts 40 miles south of Annapolis, Maryland. Calvert Cliffs 1 operated at 100 percent of capacity today.

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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