During the second quarter this year, U.S. nuclear generator outages were above the levels of the previous four years, but after July they have returned to more typical seasonal levels.
Like most electric generators, nuclear reactor operators typically schedule maintenance in the spring and the fall to help ensure reactors are available to meet peak electric demand in the summer and winter, said Energy Information Administration (EIA) officials.
Spring 2011 nuclear outages were unusually high due to the confluence of the refueling season and several forced outages because of weather issues like tornadoes or flooding. Outages in the third quarter and in the early fourth quarter 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 they should repair the unit, Progress said it will spend $0.9 to $1.3 billion to bring it back online in 2014.