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Arizona nuclear plant sets national power-output record

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PHOENIX — Triple comes up big again at an Arizona nuclear plant.

The Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station west of Phoenix broke its output record last year and for the 24th time was the highest-producing power plant in the nation.

The triple-reactor plant operated by Arizona Public Service Co. and owned by APS and several other utilities churned out 32½ million megawatt-hours of electricity in 2015.

APS announced Monday that Palo Verde remained the only power plant in the country to produce more than 30 million megawatt hours in a year.

“Without question, 2015 was our best year ever at Palo Verde,” Randy Edington, APS executive vice president and chief nuclear officer, said in a release.

“Electricity production records, shorter refueling outages, reduced production costs and an ever-present emphasis on safety helped ensure that electricity customers across Arizona and the Southwest were able to benefit from reliable, low-cost electricity.”

He added that the carbon-free electricity eased greenhouse-gas emissions. “This is the equivalent of removing 2.8 million cars from our streets and highways every year.”

The plant in Wintersburg, about 50 miles west of Phoenix, began producing in 1986. Half its power is used in Arizona while the rest is sent to California, New Mexico and part of Texas.

Most U.S. nuclear plants have two reactors; only Palo Verde operates three. Industry data placed each of the units among the top seven international producers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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