By Scott DiSavino
(Reuters) - U.S. nuclear power outages this week were the highest since the spring of 2011 as the massive storm, Sandy, slowed or shut several reactors in the Northeast.
On Tuesday, outages climbed to 32,045 megawatts (MW), the highest since the refueling and maintenance season in May 2011, following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in March that year.
The outages from the spring of 2011 were the highest since at least 1999, the first year data was available on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) website.
Prior to Sandy, nuclear outages in late October were already running above average for this time of year in the autumn refueling and maintenance season, averaging over 25,000 MW.
Sandy hit the U.S. East Coast Monday night, shutting three reactors. They were Entergy Corp's Indian Point 3 in New York, Public Service Enterprise Group Inc's Salem 1 in New Jersey and Constellation Energy Nuclear Group's Nine Mile Point 1 in New York.
Three other plants reduced power due to the storm. They were Dominion Resources Inc's Millstone 3 in Connecticut, Entergy's Vermont Yankee in Vermont and Exelon Corp's Limerick in Pennsylvania. By early Wednesday, the reactors had begun to return to full service.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Bernadette Baum)