Heat and drought force closures, reductions at nuclear power plants

The U.S. has seen its electric utilities struggle under the rising pressure of severe summer weather in the past few weeks, along with numerous other parts of the country's infrastructure, The New York Times reports.

Extremely high temperatures and drought around the country have led to unusual stresses on everything from highways to power plants.

But where heat has led to cracking and bulging in asphalt, however, rising temperatures in cooling ponds or the recession of water sources has forced some of the country's nuclear power reactors to either cut back generation or shut down entirely.

According to Bloomberg, nuclear power generation has fallen to only 94.171 megawatts, still 93 percent of capacity but also the lowest level in the past nine years.

“We’ve had a fast decay of summer output this month and that corresponds to the high heat and droughts,” Pax Saunders, an analyst at Gelber & Associate, told Bloomberg. “Plants are not able to operate at the levels they can.”

Droughts have spread to cover nearly 64 percent of the entire U.S., according to the news source, endangering crops, public water supplies and now generation capacity.

Analyses of the power and water markets are available at PennEnergy's Research area.

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