Alert terminated at Prairie Island Nuclear Plant

2:30pm UPDATE:

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Operators at Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant at 2:08 p.m. today terminated an alert declared early this morning in response to a chemical spill.

The alert was declared at 3:53 a.m. after a plant worker reported a break in a 2-inch pipe going to a tank containing approximately 500 gallons of liquid sodium hypochlorite, which is an industrial bleach. The contents of the tank drained into a catch basin around the tank. There was no release of the chemical to the river.

The health and safety of the public was not threatened by this event. There was no release of radioactive material associated with this event, and no injuries occurred.

The cause of the spill is being investigated.

The incident has not affected plant operations; both units continue to operate at full power.

An alert is the second lowest of four emergency classifications established by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The purpose of an alert is to assure that emergency personnel are readily available to assist the station and to provide off-site authorities with current status information.

The Prairie Island nuclear plant is 28 miles southeast of Minneapolis-St. Paul and about six miles northwest of Red Wing. The plant’s two pressurized water reactors generate 1,076 megawatts of electricity, enough to power nearly 1 million homes.

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ST. PAUL, Minn. – A crew is working to clean up a chemical spill at Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant, near Red Wing, that prompted operators to declare an alert at 3:53 this morning.

The alert was declared after a plant worker reported a break in a 2-inch pipe going to a tank containing approximately 500 gallons of sodium hypochlorite, which is a type of chlorine bleach. The contents of the tank drained into a bermed area around the tank. There was no release of the chemical to the river. Plant officials expect the spill will be cleaned up by early this evening.

The health and safety of the public was not threatened by this event. There was no release of radioactive material associated with this event, and no injuries occurred.

The cause of the spill is being investigated.

The incident has not affected plant operations; both units continue to operate at full power.

An alert is the second lowest of four emergency classifications established by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The purpose of an alert is to assure that emergency personnel are readily available to assist the station and to provide off-site authorities with current status information.

The Minnesota State Emergency Operations Center and Joint Information Center has been activated. The Joint Information Center is the official source of information for the news media about the incident.

To keep telephone lines open for emergency communications, Xcel Energy asks the public not to call the plant site or Xcel Energy. The state of Minnesota has activated its Emergency Operations Center and is monitoring the situation. The state hotline numbers are: 651-297-1304 (metro); 1-800-657-3504 (non-metro); 1-800-657-3822 (TTY).

Because of the chemical leak, the Ellsworth School District delayed class for 2 hours. Classes resume for high school/middle school students at 9:40 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. for elementary students.


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