Prairie Island reactor returns to full power after refueling outage

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RED WING, Minn. (XCEL ENERGY NEWS RELEASE) – Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant’s Unit 1 reactor returned to full power Tuesday, Jan. 8, at 9:32 p.m. CST after completing a scheduled maintenance and refueling outage.

During the outage, which started Oct. 23, approximately 600 contractors helped plant staff complete maintenance tasks to prepare the unit for its next operating cycle and replaced one-third of the unit’s fuel.

Xcel Energy’s Prairie Island and Monticello nuclear generating plants are among the company’s lowest-cost sources of generation on a per megawatt-hour basis. They run 24 hours a day, seven days per week, except during refueling outages, and they do not produce any greenhouse gas emissions.

Each of the two 550-megawatt reactors at Prairie Island is refueled approximately once every 18 months. During refueling outages, Xcel Energy purchases power from the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator or other utilities or increases electricity production at its other generating plants to ensure an adequate power supply for its customers.

When both units are operating, the Prairie Island plant near Red Wing generates 1,100 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to power nearly 1 million homes. The plant is owned and operated by Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy.

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