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US / Nuclear Generation ‘Relatively Steady’ As Uprates Offset Reactor Retirements

By David Dalton
27 April 2022

Three units scheduled for shutdown in coming years
Nuclear Generation ‘Relatively Steady’ As Uprates Offset Reactor Retirements
Unit 3 at the Indian Point nuclear power station in the US was shut down in 2021.
Nuclear-powered generation has remained relatively steady in the US during the past decade because uprates at existing facilities have offset the retirement of several reactors, the Energy Information Administration said.

The EIA said only one reactor was retired in 2021 – New York’s Indian Point-3 – but three more plants are scheduled to retire in the coming years

Despite a slight increase in the capacity factor of the US nuclear fleet in 2021, US nuclear electricity generation fell to its lowest level since 2012.

Output from US nuclear power plants totalled 778 million MWh in 2021, or 1.5% less than the previous year. Nuclear’s share of US electricity generation across all sectors in 2021 was similar to its average share in the previous decade at about 19%.

Six nuclear generating units with a total capacity of 4,736 MW have retired since the end of 2017.

Three more reactors with a combined 3,009 MW of capacity are scheduled to retire. Michigan’s Palisades is scheduled to retire later this year and California’s Diablo Canyon will retire one unit in 2024 and one in 2025.

According to the EIA, electric power sector generation from renewable sources totalled 795 million MWh in the US during 2021, surpassing nuclear generation’s 778 million MWh.

The US electric power sector does not include electricity generators in the industrial, commercial, or residential sectors, such as small-scale solar or wind or some combined-heat-and-power systems.

Renewable generation includes electricity generated from wind, hydropower, solar, biomass, and geothermal sources.

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