Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant’s Unit 2 reactor returned to full power at 4:09 a.m. CDT today after workers completed a scheduled maintenance and refueling outage.
During the outage, which started Feb. 22, approximately 400 contractors joined with the plant’s 800 employees to complete maintenance tasks and replace one-third of the unit’s fuel. Workers also prepared Unit 2 for installation of a new steam generator in 2013, a significant investment to support plant operations to 2034, when the unit’s extended operating license expires.
Each Prairie Island reactor can generate about 550 megawatts of electricity, for total plant output of about 1,100 megawatts. That’s enough to power nearly 1 million homes and provide about 20 percent of Xcel Energy’s customer needs in the Upper Midwest.
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.