Tuesday, February 26, 2013

US Nuclear Power On Track To Have Lowest Production Since 2000-2001

Nuclear power had another poor month in November 2012, with production down 8 billion kilowatt-hours or about 12%, compared to November 2011.  For the whole year of 2012, US nuclear production is likely to be back at 2000-2001 levels or approximately 760 billion kilowatt-hours or down about 6% from the record 2010 level. http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/mer.pdf.

The decline in nuclear generation opened the door to increased coal-fired generation that was up 5% in November 2012 compared to November 2011.  Natural gas generation was also up about 3% in November 2012 compared to November 2011.  See Chapter 7 in the link above for all data.

Since its record production year in 2010, the US nuclear industry has suffered from mechanical and operational problems at a number of units. The decline in US nuclear production is a big, new trend in US power markets and it deepened in November 2012.

One result of the struggles in the US nuclear fleet is increased coal generation and rising carbon emissions in November 2012. Both monthly carbon emissions and coal generation increased, for the first time in a year, during November.  These trends bear watching in 2013.

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