In the next month, Xcel will take advantage of recent upgrades to increase the power production at its Monticello nuclear plant by 71 megawatts.The utility completed an uprate at the plant near Minneapolis in July. On Monday, Xcel announced that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved its application for the power increase. Operators will begin to gradually ramp up the power at the reactor in the coming weeks. According a release from the company, Xcel will wait for "an NRC decision in spring 2014 that will allow more operator flexibility before the plant ascends to the full 671 megawatts."Monticello is a General Electric Type 3 boiling water reactor first licensed in 1970. According to the NRC, the agency last approved an uprate for the unit in 1998. The recent upgrades represented about 40 percent of a larger $320 million refueling and service outage. It experienced cost overruns in excess of $267 million, drawing scrutiny from state regulators.
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