Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Nuke Fact: 27% Of Nuclear Plant Was Not Operating On Tax Day & That Was Good For Gas

Apparently, like many of us, nuclear plants don't like tax day.

On tax day, 27% of the nation's nuclear plants or more than 27,000 megawatts were not operating.  Most plants were out of service for planned maintenance or refueling.  A few were broken down.

During the course of a year, all generation machines won't run for days, weeks, or even months.  No plant maintains a 100% capacity factor continuously.

Plants of all types need maintenance. Things go wrong that must be fixed.  Fuel problems happen. Disasters hit. Demand changes.  For all these reasons, grid systems have spinning reserves ready to provide power almost immediately to take the place of a plant that suddenly goes down.

The amount of nuclear power plants out of service on Monday was higher than the 5-year average of about 24,000 megawatts for this time of year.  The comparatively large amount of down nuclear capacity was identified by traders as a bullish factor for the natural gas spot market.

A down nuke is opportunity for a gas plant to crank up to take its place.  And the gas market remains heavily influenced by sales of gas for electricity generation.

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