U.S. nuclear-power production climbed to the highest level in six weeks after Exelon Corp. (EXC:US) increased power at three reactors in the Midwest.
Nationwide generation advanced 2.8 percent to 80,528 megawatts, or 79 percent of capacity, the most since March 17, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 2.1 percent higher than a year ago with 19 of 104 reactors offline.
Exelon’s 1,136-megawatt Byron 2 reactor reached 60 percent of capacity today, compared with 10 percent yesterday. The unit, about 85 miles (137 kilometers) west of Chicago, halted for scheduled refueling around April 8.
The company also boosted its LaSalle 1 and 2 reactors about 70 miles southwest of Chicago. The 1,118-megawatt LaSalle 1 returned to full power from 70 percent yesterday, while the 1,120-megawatt LaSalle 2 rose to 70 percent from 28 percent.
The three reactor gains sent nuclear output higher by 9 percent to 16,650 megawatts in the Midwest, the highest level since April 7.
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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