Western Nuclear Generation Gains Most in Almost a Month

Western nuclear-power generation increased the most in almost a month, lifting nationwide production for a second day, as Great Plains Energy Inc. raised output at the 1,166-megawatt Wolf Creek 1 reactor in Kansas.

Nationwide production gained 0.6 percent to 74,213 megawatts, or 73 percent of capacity, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg show. Generation was 0.6 percent less than a year ago with 25 of 104 reactors offline.

Wolf Creek 1, about 55 miles (88 kilometers) south of Topeka, increased output to 46 percent of capacity from 9 percent yesterday. The unit reconnected to the grid April 15 after completing maintenance and refueling, according to Cassie Bailey, a company spokeswoman based at the plant.

“There is still a series of testing to be performed as we continue with power ascension,” Bailey said in an e-mail responding to questions. “We anticipate reaching 100 percent power later this week.”

The reactor is jointly owned by Great Plains and Westar Energy Inc.

Wolf Creek’s boost lifted Western generation by 3.3 percent to 13,662 megawatts, the biggest increase since March 22. Output was little changed in the Southeast and Midwest and unchanged in the Northeast.

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.