Pinnacle, Exelon Reactors Boost U.S. Nuclear Production

Pinnacle West Capital Corp. and Exelon Corp. raised output at reactors in Arizona and Illinois, lifting U.S. nuclear-power generation for a third day.

Nationwide production gained 1 percent to 76,220 megawatts, or 75 percent of capacity, according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s 4.6 percent lower than a year ago with 20 of 104 reactors shut.

Pinnacle West’s 1,335-megawatt Palo Verde 1 reactor operated at 44 percent of capacity today, compared with 12 percent yesterday. The unit, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) west of Phoenix, shut for refueling on March 30, commission filings show. The three-reactor station is the largest in the NRC’s Western region.

The gain boosted Western output by 2.4 percent to 16,085 megawatts. Midwestern generation advanced 2.3 percent to 13,525 megawatts after Exelon restarted the LaSalle 1 and 2 reactors 70 miles southwest of Chicago.

The 1,118-megawatt LaSalle 1 reactor operated at 22 percent of capacity, while the 1,120-megawatt LaSalle 2 ran at 1 percent. Both units were shut yesterday.

Reactor maintenance closings, usually undertaken in the U.S. spring or fall when energy use is 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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