I realize that I may be accused of cherry-picking a particularly good month for US nuclear power plants, but I wanted to share something that helps to explain why I am so darned enthusiastic about nuclear energy’s potential to improve the human condition. This quote comes from the Nuclear Performance Report of August, 2013. For some reason, this monthly report is not widely published. I’m pretty sure that the publisher will not mind me sharing this quote:
Estimated U.S. nuclear generation in August 2013 was 71.0 billion kWh, compared to 69.6 billion kWh for the same period in 2012. The average estimated capacity factor for August 2013 was 97.4 percent compared to 92.7 percent in August 2012. Total nuclear generation for the first eight months of 2013 was 0.7 percent higher than the same period in 2012.
Ninety-two of the 100 nuclear units operated above a 90 percent capacity factor during August. Fifty-five units achieved capacity factors above 100% and 37 units achieved capacity factors between 90% and 100%. Seven units had capacity factors between 38% and 83% and one unit, Fort Calhoun, was offline the entire month.
For the Fall 2013 refueling outage season, 21 nuclear units are scheduled to refuel compared to 31 units during the same period in 2012.
How can anyone fail to recognize the value of a technology where a fleet of 100 operating units produced 97.2 of their theoretical maximum output around the clock for a solid month? If that potential performance does not completely thrill you, please consider the importance of the fact that there was no CO2 dumped into the atmosphere during plant operation.