Record year for US nuclear plants

27 January 2015

The US Nuclear Energy Institute says that US nuclear plants generated at a record level of efficiency in 2014, according to preliminary figures, achieving an average capacity factor of 91.9%. This, it says, demonstrates nuclear energy's value to reliability and stability of the electric grid and the US economy.

According to data compiled by the Nuclear Energy Institute the 100 US nuclear stations, which are spread across 31 states, achieved an estimated capacity factor of 91.9% in 2014 - the highest capacity factor achieved by the US nuclear industry in any year. The second highest capacity factor in a year was 91.8% in 2007.

Nuclear Energy Institute data also shows that capacity factor has been increasing over the last few years from 87.0% in 2012, to 90.9% in 2013, and 91.9% in 2014.

The organisation also reported that US nuclear plants generated 798.4TWh of electricity in 2014, the sixth highest generation figure on record. The US nuclear industry achieved its record generation in 2010, when the 104 reactors then operating produced 806.9 TWh of electricity while posting an industry average capacity factor of 90.9%. Generation in 2013 was 789.0TWh.

The average duration of refuelling outages at US nuclear plants was also down in 2014 to 37.2 days, compared with 41 days in 2013 and 46 days in 2012, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute.

The US currently had 100 reactors in operation in 2014 with a combined net capacity of 99.2 GW. There are now 99 reactors in operation, following the closure of Vermont Yankee at the end of 2014.

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