More US Nuclear Units to Refuel in 2014 than 2013

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US nuclear power plant refueling and maintenance outages in 2014 will take about 4,500 more net megawatts out of service in 2014 than in 2013, according to an analysis by Platts of historical refueling data and a review of US Nuclear Regulatory Commission documents.

According to the analysis, 58 units totaling 59,831 MW are expected to refuel in 2014, compared to 54 units totaling 55,289 MW in 2013. All capacity ratings given are for net design electrical rating.

In the first half of last year, 31 units totaling 31,810 MW were shut for refueling; for the first half of this year, 35 units totaling 37,082 MW are expected to shut for refueling.
In the second half of last year, 23 units totaling 23,479 MW were out for refueling; for the second half of this year, 23 units and 22,749 MW are expected to be out.

The number of power reactors that refueled in 2013 was the lowest since 2010, when 49 units refueled.

Since 1995, the number of units refueling in a single year has fallen below 60 only four other times, including last year, according to the analysis. Fifty-four units refueled in 2007, 55 units in 2004, and 57 units in 2001.

Only two units have begun commercial operation during that period — Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar-1 in May 1995 and Browns Ferry-1 in May 2007 after a 22-year shutdown.

During the past year, however, four units have been permanently shut, removing 3,596 MW from the grid, and the 617-MW Vermont Yankee is to shut permanently at the end of this year.

The reactors expected to refuel in 2014 were out for an average of 46 days during their most recent refueling outages, according to the analysis. That average includes Arkansas Nuclear One-1, Sequoyah-2, St. Lucie-2 and Turkey Point-4, all of which had outages of more than 80 days because of various circumstances. Excluding those units, the average time out was 39 days.

US reactors are shut for refueling and maintenance outages about every 18 or 24 months, during periods of low seasonal demand.

Within the industry, the refueling periods are also referred to as spring or fall. Nuclear operating companies generally do not divulge expected dates for refueling outages, citing competitive reasons. Dates, where available, have been taken from information that plant operators provided to the US NRC that is posted on the agency’s Adams electronic document system.


In the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, region, two units totaling 2,458 MW will refuel — Luminant’s 1,207-MW Comanche Peak-2 and STP Nuclear Operating Co.’s 1,251-MW South Texas Project-1. In the year-ago period, one 1,218-MW unit refueled.

In the Midwest/Upper Midwest region, seven units totaling 6,933 MW are expected to refuel in first-half 2014, compared to nine units totaling 9,194 MW in first-half 2013. The units to refuel in the first half of this year are: FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co.’s 933-MW Beaver Valley-2 in Pennsylvania; Exelon’s 1,155-MW Braidwood-2 (to begin March 1), 1,187-MW Byron-1, 1,178-MW LaSalle-1 and 957-MW Quad Cities-2 (to begin in April) in Illinois; Fenoc’s 908-MW Davis-Besse in Ohio; and NextEra Energy Resources’ 615-MW Point Beach-2 in Wisconsin.

In the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic region, nine units totaling 9,570 MW are expected to refuel in first-half 2014, compared with nine units totaling 8,703 MW in first-half 2013. Units expected to refuel in the first half are: Constellation’s 845-MW Calvert Cliffs-1 in Maryland; Constellation’s 585-MW Ginna (to begin in May) and 1,300-MW Nine Mile Point-2 (to begin in April) and Entergy’s 1,035-MW Indian Point-2 in New York; Exelon’s 1,205-MW Limerick-1 in Pennsylvania; Dominion’s 884-MW Millstone-2 in Connecticut; PSEG’s 1,181-MW Salem-2 in New Jersey; NextEra Energy Resources’ 1,248-MW Seabrook in New Hampshire; and PPL’s 1,287-MW Susquehanna-1 in Pennsylvania.

In the Southeast, 15 units totaling 15,647 MW are expected to refuel in first-half 2013, compared to nine units totaling 9,058 MW in first-half 2013. Units expected to refuel in the first half are: Entergy’s 1,032-MW Arkansas Nuclear One-2 in Arkansas; Tennessee Valley Authority’s 1,120-MW Browns Ferry-3 in Alabama; Duke Energy’s 983-MW Brunswick-1 and 1,180-MW McGuire-2 in North Carolina; Duke’s 1,145-MW Catawba-1 and 886-MW Oconee-3 and South Carolina Electric & Gas’ 973-MW Summer in South Carolina; Southern Nuclear Operating Co.’s 880-MW Hatch-1 and 1,211-MW Vogtle-1 in Georgia; TVA’s 1,151-MW Sequoyah-2 and 1,155-MW Watts Bar-1 in Tennessee; NextEra’s 1,074-MW St. Lucie-2 (to begin in March) and 845-MW Turkey Point-3 (to begin in March) in Florida; Dominion’s 839-NW Surry-2 in Virginia; and Entergy’s 1,173-MW Waterford-3 in Louisiana.

In the West, two units totaling 2,474 MW will refuel in first half-2014 — Pacific Gas & Electric’s 1,138-MW Diablo Canyon-1 in California and Arizona Public Service’s 1,336-MW Palo Verde-2 in Arizona. In first-half 2013, three units totaling 3,637 MW refueled.


One unit in the ERCOT region — the 1,218-MW Luminant’s Comanche Peak-1 — is expected to refuel in the second half of this year; the 1,251-MW South Texas Project-2 refueled in second-half 2013.

In the Midwest/Upper Midwest region, eight units totaling 6,955 MW are expected to refuel in the second half, compared with eight units totaling 7,612 MW the same time last year.

The units expected to refuel are: Exelon’s 1,155-MW Byron-2 and 879-MW Dresden-3 (to begin in October) in Illinois; Ameren’s 1,228-MW Callaway in Missouri; American Electric Power’s 1,084-MW Cook-1 in Michigan; Nebraska Public Power District’s 815-MW Cooper (to begin in September) in Nebraska; NextEra Energy Resources’ 622-MW Duane Arnold in Iowa and 615-MW Point Beach-1 (to begin in October) in Wisconsin; and Xcel Energy’s 557-MW Prairie Island-1 in Minnesota.

In the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic region, five units totaling 5,002 MW are expected to refuel in the second half — Entergy’s 816-MW FitzPatrick in New York; Dominion’s 1,229-MW Millstone-3 in Connecticut, Exelon’s 650-MW Oyster Creek and PSEG’s 1,169-MW Salem-1 in New Jersey; and Exelon’s 1,138-MW Peach Bottom-2 in Pennsylvania. In the second half of last year, three units totaling 3,185 MW refueled.

In the Southeast, seven units totaling 7,084 MW are to refuel in the second half, compared to 10 units totaling 10,097 in second-half 2013. Units expected to refuel in the second half are TVA’s 1,120-MW Browns Ferry-1 and Southern Nuclear’s 878-MW Farley-2 in Alabama; Duke’s 1,200-MW McGuire-1 in North Carolina, Dominion’s 973-MW North Anna-2 in Virginia; Southern’s 886-MW Oconee-1 in South Carolina; NextEra’s 845-MW Turkey Point-4 in Florida; and Southern Nuclear’s 1,182-MW Vogtle-2 in Georgia.

In the West, two units totaling 2,490 MW — PG&E’s 1,157-MW Diablo Canyon-2 (to begin in October) in California and APS’ 1,333-MW Palo Verde-1 (to begin in October) in Arizona — are expected to refuel in second-half 2014, compared to APS’ 1,334-MW Palo Verde-3 a year ago.

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