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U.S. ENERGY INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION
New Record High for Nuclear Power Generation in 2002
The U.S. nuclear industry generated a record 780.2 billion kilowatthours (kwh) of electricity in 2002 (see Figure), according to preliminary data released today by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). This represents an increase of one percent above the 2001 record of 768.8 billion kwh, and the fourth consecutive record year for nuclear generation. EIA projects that electricity generation from nuclear power will continue its record-setting pace in 2003 and 2004.
After declining in 1997 to its lowest level in four years, nuclear generation and capacity utilization have been rising in each year. In 1996, the capacity utilization factor  was 76.2 percent, based upon a capacity of 100,784 net megawatts electric (MWe), the highest annual average ever recorded for U.S. nuclear capacity. In 1999 output exceeded 700 billion kwh for the first time, and the capacity utilization factor climbed to 85.3 percent. This ranked U.S. reactors among the world’s top performers. This upward trend continued in 2000 and 2001, with the industry achieving capacity utilization factors of 88.1 percent and 89.7 percent, respectively. Based on preliminary data, the U.S. nuclear industry’s capacity utilization factor for 2002 (using a preliminary capacity total of 98,159 net MWe) exceeded 90 percent (90.8 percent). If confirmed by final data, this would be a new record high.
Although no nuclear reactors have come on line since 1996, the installed generating capacity increased during the last four years by 1,100 MWe as a result of capacity uprates.  If all of the uprates approved since January 2001 by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are implemented, this would add approximately 1,850 net MWe to the Nation’s nuclear capacity. This is almost fifty percent more capacity than that of the largest U.S. reactor, South Texas 2, currently rated at 1,251 net MWe.
The preliminary 2002 data show that Illinois ranked first in generation with 91 billion kwh, followed by Pennsylvania with 76 billion kwh and South Carolina’s 53 billion kwh. Together, these States accounted for 28 percent of the Nation’s nuclear-related generation.
Information on electricity generation by individual nuclear plants is available on EIA’s Internet Web Site at: http://www.eia.gov/cneaf/nuclear/page/nuc_generation/usreact02.xls.
EIA Program Contact: John Moens 202/287-1976
File Last Modified: March 28, 2003