Domestic nuclear power fleet had better than 90% capacity factor in May

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) recently reported that the U.S. reactor fleet’s average estimated capacity factor in May 2016 was 90.3% during May, compared to 89.8% in May 2015.

Thirteen reactors were shut down for refueling during some part of May. Estimated U.S. nuclear generation in May 2016 was 66.5 billion kWh, compared to 65.8 billion kWh in May 2015.

May was also noteworthy in the sense that the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) achieved its first sustained nuclear fission reaction at the Watts Bar 2 unit in Tennessee. TVA continues to test the reactor at incrementally higher power generation levels.

The Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) 934-MW Oconee Unit 3 in South Carolina returned to service at 1:14 p.m. EDT, Monday, May 16, ending a 23-day refueling and maintenance outage that was the shortest in station history. The unit had shut April 23 for refueling and maintenance.

Exelon (NYSE:EXC) operators returned Clinton plant in Illinois to full power [on May 30], ending a refueling outage that began May 15 and setting a new U.S. record for the shortest refueling outage for a boiling water reactor at 11 days. Exelon has announced plans to retire Clinton by June 1, 2017.

It appears that the Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE:PEG)(PSEG) Salem 1 facility in New Jersey is the only domestic nuclear unit currently shut down for refueling. Salem 1 started its refueling outage in mid-April. PSEG has also revealed that it discovered some degraded “baffle” bolts since the outage started.

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 wayneb@pennwell.com.