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Nuclear refueling outage days in the U.S. 1995-2019

The statistic represents the average length of outages for nuclear power plants in the United States between 1995 and 2019. In 2019, as of October 2019, this figure stood at 32 outage days.

US nuclear refueling outage days

America’s electricity needs are met by a selection of energy carriers including coal, oil and natural gas, as well as nuclear fuel and renewable energy sources. Despite the wide variety of fuels that can be used, the country’s power generation structure consists primarily of coal and nuclear power to provide its citizens with an around-the-clock “baseload” supply of electricity – this is what makes nuclear power an essential and crucial element of the U.S. power generation mix. In spring and fall, when demand for electricity is lowest, a limited number of nuclear reactors are shut down for refueling and maintenance.

Since spent fuel rods are no longer useful in sustaining a nuclear reaction, nuclear units are required to dispose of some of the spent fuel rods and conduct other routine maintenance and repair activities. The level of outage days at operational nuclear power plants in the United States dramatically decreased in the 1990s, when plants reduced the number of refueling outage days from 81 in 1997 to 40 in 1999. In 2018, there were 34 refueling outage days at U.S. nuclear power plants, down from 46 in 2012.

Average length of refueling outages for nuclear plants in the United States from 1995 to 2019

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Release date

January 2020


United States

Survey time period

1995 to 2019

Supplementary notes

* Year to date, as of October 2, 2019.

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Statistics on "Nuclear power in the U.S."

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