Nuclear agency renews Prairie Island permitby Stephanie Hemphill, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is renewing Xcel Energy's permit to operate its Prairie Island nuclear power plant for another 20 years. The plant is located in southeastern Minnesota, near Red Wing.
During a three-year review, Xcel Energy showed to the NRC's satisfaction that it can safely operate the aging plant through the year 2033. The current permit for the Prairie Island facility expires in 2013.
There are a few minor conditions written into the permit, mainly directing Xcel to replace and refurbish equipment. Xcel plans to invest at least $500 million updating the plant. Xcel will apply for approval to increase generating capacity, which would prompt additional investments.
The NRC rejected arguments by the neighboring Prairie Island Indian Community that there were too many long-standing deficiencies at the plant.
Xcel's other nuclear plant, at Monticello, Minn., is licensed to operate until 2030.
The NRC has issued renewed permits for many of the nation's nuclear plants.