US nuclear industry sets generation record

The US nuclear power industry produced a record amount of power last year from fewer plants, continuing to defy predictions of its early demise. Total power generated was 753.9 billion kw-hr, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported, topping the previous record set in 1999 by 3.5%. The record year 2000 output was achieved despite the fact that the industry now has only 103 operating reactors, compared to 111 operating reactors in 1990.


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Mar. 16�The US nuclear power industry produced a record amount of power last year from fewer plants, continuing to defy predictions of its early demise.

Total power generated was 753.9 billion kw-hr, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported, topping the previous record set in 1999 by 3.5%.

The record year 2000 output was achieved despite the fact that the industry now has only 103 operating reactors, compared to 111 operating reactors in 1990. The industry produced only 577 million kw-hr recently as 1990.

The rise in reliability and declining production costs have led to increased industry interest in nuclear power plant license renewal, the EIA noted. In 2000, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved license renewal applications for five US nuclear power plants in 2000.

Five additional applications were received and 28 more are planned to be submitted by 2004.

Record output was attained last year through an annual net capacity factor of 89.1% during 2000, compared to 85.5% in 1999, and 70.2% in 1990. Nuclear generation surpassed 700 billion kw-hr for the second consecutive year, the EIA said.

For 8 of the first 9 months of 2000, nuclear generation was higher than in the same month during 1999. The nuclear industry generated 69.2 billion kw-hr in July 2000, the highest level ever for the US nuclear power industry

The federal government agency said the increase in nuclear generation over the past 2 years would have been enough to meet the power needs of all residential consumers in California in 1999.

In 2000, the US nuclear industry's annual capacity utilization rate as measured by the annual net capacity factor�the ratio of the amount of electricity actually generated to the amount of electricity that could be produced at full power with continuous operations�was 89.1%.

Monthly capacity utilization rates exceeded 90% during January, February, June, July, August, and December, months during which the power industry must meet peak summer and winter demands, according to the EIA.

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