U.S. Nuclear Ouput Gains on Great Plains Reactor Boost

U.S. nuclear-power production climbed for a fourth day after Great Plains Energy Inc. and Duke Energy Corp. raised power to reactors in Kansas and North Carolina.

Nationwide generation gained 0.9 percent to 81,050 megawatts, or 80 percent of capacity, the highest level in a week, according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 5.2 percent less than the year-earlier period with 19 of 104 reactors offline.

The 1,166-megawatt Wolf Creek 1 reactor, a Great Plains unit about 55 miles (88 kilometers) south of Topeka, Kansas, increased to 80 percent of power from 28 percent yesterday. The plant shut last week for repairs related to safety equipment and increased temperatures, according to Cassie Bailey, a spokeswoman at the site.

Duke boosted power to 95 percent at the 900-megawatt Harris 1 reactor 20 miles southwest of Raleigh, North Carolina. The unit slowed to 75 percent of capacity yesterday for planned semi-annual turbine valve testing, said Kim Crawford, a spokeswoman based at the plant.

The Harris 1 increase led Southeastern nuclear production higher by 35 megawatts to 28,782 megawatts. Wolf Creek 1 boosted Western generation by 3.8 percent to 16,359 megawatts.

Reactor maintenance shutdowns, 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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