U.S. nuclear power plants generated electricity at a record high level of efficiency last year, according to operating reports filed with nuclear regulators. Proving again the value and stability that nuclear power brings to our economy. The Nuclear Energy Institute calculates that the 100 operating nuclear reactors generated power at an average capacity factor of 91.9% during last year. The capacity factor measures total electricity generated as a percentage of year-round potential generation.
“Our refueling outages have gone from three months to one month and plant technology and processes have gotten better over time to help keep plants on line more of the time,” David Bradish, the manager of energy and economic analysis at the Nuclear Energy Institute, said Friday. “Plants are running much better and more reliably than they ever have, which makes nuclear power that much more cost efficient for utilities.”
Nuclear power plants have the highest capacity factors of any major power generation source. Coal and natural gas plants often run 50 percent to 70 percent of their capacity because their power output is frequently raised and lowered to match changing consumer demand.