Domestic nuclear power fleet operated at almost 98% capacity in January

The nuclear power fleet in the United States recorded an average estimated capacity factor in January of 97.9%, which was actually not as good as the average performance recorded in January 2015, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI).

The 97.9% capacity factor was slightly below the 101.3% capacity factor recorded in January 2015, NEI said in its monthly Nuclear Performance report. NEI is the nuclear industry trade group.

Estimated U.S. nuclear generation in January 2016 was 72.2 billion kWh, compared to 74.3 billion kWh in January 2015.

In January 2014, the U.S. nuclear fleet recorded an average capacity factor of 99.1%.

The FirstEnergy (NYSE:FE) Perry nuclear plant in Perry, Ohio, achieved industry-leading reliability for 2015 operating with a forced loss rate of zero. Forced loss rate measures the percentage of time a plant is not producing electricity related to an unplanned power reduction or outage, NEI noted.

As far as other milestones, the Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) fleet achieved a capacity factor of 94.21% in 2015, its best mark in more than a decade, NEI said in the report.

In Arizona, the Pinnacle West (NYSE:PNW) Palo Verde nuclear station exceeded its own record for power generation – producing 32.5 million MWh of carbon-free electricity in 2015. In addition, the plant’s three units achieved a capacity factor of 94% last year.

Generation estimates are based on Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Monthly Operating Reports obtained through the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations and Energy Information Administration (EIA) 923 Form.

Capacity figures from the EIA are the Net Summer Capacities reported in the 860 Form; other capacity figures are from media or company reports. Capacity factors are calculated using EIA capacity and generation data, and NRC generation data, NEI said.


About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at