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October 17, 2011

Nuclear outages back within typical range since July following springtime surge

graph of nuclear outages back within typical range since July following springtime surge, as described in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on data from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Power Reactor Status Reports.
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U.S. nuclear generator outages were above the levels of the previous four years in the second quarter of 2011 but have returned to more typical seasonal levels since the start of July 2011.

Like most electric generators, nuclear reactor operators typically schedule maintenance in the spring and the fall to help ensure that the reactors are available to meet peak electric demand in the summer and winter.

Spring 2011 nuclear outages were unusually high due to the confluence of the refueling season and several forced outages, including outages due to weather events (such as tornadoes or flooding). Outages in recent months have largely trended within the 2007-2010 range.

Notable units in extended outage include:

  • Both of Dominion Power's North Anna reactors in Virginia remain offline following the earthquake on August 23.
  • Omaha Public Power District's Fort Calhoun reactor initially went offline on April 10 for refueling and has since remained offline due to flooding on the Missouri River.
  • Progress Energy Florida's Crystal River unit three has been offline since September 2009 to repair the reactor containment. After evaluating whether the unit should be repaired, Progress announced it will spend $0.9 to $1.3 billion to bring the unit back online in 2014.