U.S. Nuclear Output Hits 3-Month High on Northeast Plants

U.S. nuclear-power generation increased to the highest level in almost three months as Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. and Constellation Energy Group Inc. boosted output at reactors in the Northeast.

Nationwide production climbed 2.3 percent to 86,921 megawatts, or 85 percent of capacity, the most since March 1, according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 2.9 percent higher than a year ago with 13 of 104 reactors offline.

Public Service increased the 1,174-megawatt Salem 1 reactor in New Jersey to 98 percent of capacity from 62 percent yesterday. The unit, about 18 miles (29 kilometers) south of Wilmington, Delaware, is returning to full power after being shut for more than five weeks for refueling and maintenance.

Calvert Cliffs 2, a 862-megawatt reactor operated by Constellation, was at 91 percent of capacity today, compared with 45 percent yesterday. The plant, about 38 miles south of Annapolis, Maryland, tripped offline on May 21.

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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