Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant begins refueling outage

Operators at Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant early Saturday began a scheduled refueling outage during which work to increase the plant’s output by 71 megawatts will be completed, the company reported in a news release.
“Our Monticello and Prairie Island nuclear plants generate some of our lowest-cost, carbon-free electricity, which provides great value to our customers,” stated Judy Poferl, president and CEO, Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota, an Xcel Energy company. “We are expanding investments in our nuclear plants to retain those benefits for another 20 years.”
During the Monticello outage, workers will complete major equipment upgrades to increase the plant’s generating capacity and to ensure continued safe and reliable operations. The work will increase the unit’s capacity to 671 megawatts and improve plant efficiency.
Approximately 2,000 contractors – many of whom come to the Monticello area from other parts of the country, providing a boon to the local economy — also will help plant staff complete maintenance and construction work to prepare the unit for its next operating cycle, including placing new fuel assemblies in the reactor.  Refueling outages generally last four to six weeks. Because of the added work during this outage, Xcel reports the outage is expected to run a few weeks longer than usual.
The Monticello plant generates enough electricity to power nearly 500,000 homes.
During refueling outages, Xcel Energy purchases power from the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO) or directly from other utilities or increases electricity production at its other generating plants to ensure an adequate power supply for its customers.
See this week’s Monticello Times for a special report on the refueling outage and power uprating project and its impact on the local economy.