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U.S. nuclear generation in 2018 surpasses peak of 2010

By
Renzo Pipoli
Electricity production from nuclear energy in the United States reached a peak in 2018, the first since 2010, the EIA said Thursday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Electricity production from nuclear energy in the United States reached a peak in 2018, the first since 2010, the EIA said Thursday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

March 22 (UPI) -- Electricity generation from the United States nuclear power plants totaled 807 million megawatt hours in 2018, slightly more than a previous peak in 2010.

"Although several nuclear power plants have closed since 2010, a combination of added capacity through uprates and shorter refueling and maintenance cycles allowed the remaining nuclear power plants to produce more electricity," the Energy Information Administration said in the report.

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Between 2010 and 2018, only one new nuclear power plant came online in the United States.

"The Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) Watts Bar Unit 2 nuclear power reactor came online in the fall of 2016, providing 1.2 gigawatts (GW) of additional power," the EIA said.

A combined capacity of 5.3 gigawatts in seven plants were retired since 2013.

"As of the beginning of 2019, the United States had 98 nuclear power reactors at 60 plants are expected to retire later this year, based on announced retirements," the report said.

Another reason behind the productivity rise is that nuclear power plants "have also shortened the time they are out of operation for refueling or maintenance."

In 2018, the average nuclear reactor outage was about 25 days. Nuclear power plants typically refuel every 18 to 24 months.

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Pilgrim, Massachusetts's only nuclear plant, and Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania are expected to retire later this year, the report said.

Nuclear energy is set for a risky and significant decline at a worldwide level in coming years, according to the International Energy Agency, a Paris-based organization created to study changes in energy prices.

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