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Nuclear update: US output hits new low for the season after 3 outages

TotalU.S. nuclear plant availability retreated early May 2 to 82.06%, down from83.94% on April 29 and at its lowest level yet this spring.

Butas the refueling and maintenance season reaches its peak, the total U.S.nuclear capacity factor remains above the same time last year. Totalavailability on May 2, 2015, was pegged at 82.34%, up from the 80.72% seasonallow reached on April 25, 2015.

Helpingto sink total U.S. production was the loss of three units, two for refueling outagesand one due to an automatic reactor trip.

Thescheduled refueling outages included Texas Energy Future Holdings' 1 in Texas andPG&E Corp.'sDiablo Canyon 2in California, which should be the last refueling outages of the spring season,according to private sources.

Athird unit, South TexasProject 1 in Texas, which is jointly owned by , and Austin Energy, was shut unexpectedly on May 1 when thereactor automatically tripped due to a generator lockout, which resulted in aturbine trip, according to a report filed with the U.S. Nuclear RegulatoryCommission.

Alsohelping to pressure total U.S. nuclear power production was a curtailment atNextEra Energy Inc.'sDuane Arnold EnergyCenter in Iowa, which was at 70% power on May 2, down from fullpower the day prior.

Buthelping to offset the lost production was a handful of units ramping outputafter recent refueling outages, including the full return of: 's and 'sPeach Bottom 2 inPennsylvania; Talen EnergyCorp's Susquehanna 2 in Pennsylvania; and 's 1 in Alabama andEdwin I Hatch 1in Georgia.

Inaddition, NextEra's TurkeyPoint 4 in Florida was returned to 90%, up from 28% on April 29,while American Electric Power Co.Inc. ramped its Donald C. Cook 1 in Michigan to 98%, up from 49% onApril 29.

Power production levels andimpending outage dates are current at the time of publication and are subjectto change. For details of U.S. nuclear power plant operations, visit our NuclearStatus and Outage Report.