U.S. Nuclear Generation Declines on Pennsylvania Reactor Closing

U.S. nuclear-power generation fell for the first time in four days after a FirstEnergy Corp. reactor in Pennsylvania was shut for maintenance.

Nationwide production slid 0.2 percent to 85,950 megawatts, or 84 percent of capacity, to according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 0.9 percent higher than a year ago with 15 of 104 plants offline.

FirstEnergy shut the 846-megawatt Beaver Valley 2 unit, about 26 miles (42 kilometers) northwest of Pittsburgh, early today for maintenance on the main generator and reactor coolant pump, Jennifer Young, a spokeswoman for the company in Akron, Ohio, said in an e-mail.

“This work will ensure the plant is in optimal condition to perform reliably during the hot summer months,” said Young, who declined to comment on the duration of the work for competitive reasons.

Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the NRC in Philadelphia, said in an e-mail that the unit was taken offline to “address main generator vibrations.” The reactor was operating at full capacity yesterday, NRC data show.

Regional Drop

The Northeast was the only region to show a decline in nuclear-power generation today, NRC data show. The area’s output was 19,789 megawatts, or 80 percent of capacity, down 2.6 percent from yesterday.

Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. boosted production at the 1,174-megawatt Salem 1 reactor in New Jersey to 47 percent of capacity from 19 percent yesterday. The unit, about 18 miles south of Wilmington, Delaware, was restarted late last week after being shut for more than five weeks for refueling and planned work.

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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