Nuclear powers up, as do natural gas prices

As the nation’s energy grid moves from spring toward summer, the number of nuclear reactor units currently offline for some type of outage continues to dwindle.

Meanwhile, natural gas futures prices are ticking upward with the warmer weather.


Only four units were listed as having zero power generation as of June 6, the most recent day that NRC issued its reactor status report. One-fifth of the nation’s nuclear units were offline only a couple of months ago, according to GenerationHub

Spring and fall are traditionally the times when nuclear operators look to schedule outages for refueling and maintenance and, in some cases maintenance alone.

According to the latest report, there was one reactor still listed as offline in the Northeast; two in the Southeast and one in the Southwest. The affected reactors are the Public Service Enterprise Group Salem 2 unit; the Duke Energy Catawba 1 unit; the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Sequoyah 2 and the Entergy Arkansas Nuclear 2 facility.

PPL returned its Susquehanna 1 nuclear unit in Pennsylvania to service June 6 following a refueling and maintenance outage.

Meanwhile on the natural gas price front, the futures price of natural gas continues to creep upward. The futures price for gas on June 6 2as $4.71/mmBtu, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

That’s almost 17 cents higher than a week earlier and up roughly 88 cents compared to a year earlier.

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Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 22 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants.

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