Share This
Nuclear Energy Institute
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 22, 2011
Contact: media@nei.org, 202.739.8000 or 703.644.8805 (after hours and weekends)

Reliable Nuclear Energy Facilities Stabilize Electric Grid During Eastern Heat Wave

WASHINGTON, D.C.—As the Eastern United States suffers triple-digit temperatures that are threatening brownouts and blackouts, America’s nuclear energy facilities are playing a significant role in the reliably producing electricity and stabilizing the electric grid.

U.S. reactors, on average, posted a capacity factor of 95.3 percent during the week of July 16-22. Capacity factor is the ratio of the actual electric output of a power plant over a period of time and its output if it had operated at full capacity the entire time. In other words, most nuclear energy facilities were operating around the clock throughout the week.

Seventy-eight reactors across the country operated at 100 percent capacity during the entire week. All but three of America’s 104 reactors in 31 states were producing electricity to meet heavy demand this week. Those three were offline for refueling and/or maintenance work.

“America’s nuclear energy facilities help power America’s economy and are extremely reliable so that they can cool homes and businesses in extreme weather conditions. The extraordinary reliability of nuclear energy facilities is vital to maintaining the stability of our electric grid during periods of exceptionally high demand,” said Tony Pietrangelo, senior vice president and chief nuclear officer at the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Data on nuclear energy facility operation is reported in the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s daily power reactor status reports. Specific plant operating status can be found on the NRC website. The nation’s 104 nuclear power plants have a combined generating capacity of 101,004 megawatts of electricity, enough to meet the electricity needs of more than 60 million Americans.