The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

October 23, 2012

Xcel no longer seeking nuclear upgrade

— Xcel Energy Inc. is no longer backing a proposed upgrade at its Prairie Island nuclear power plant near Red Wing, the company told Minnesota regulators in a filing.

The Minneapolis-based utility no longer believes that spending $237 million to boost power at the plant's two reactors is a good deal for customers, the Star Tribune (http://bit.ly/UxBXaM) reported. Xcel told state regulators of its decision in the filing late Monday.

Xcel already has added bigger fuel rods to the plant's twin reactors in anticipation of increasing their output. The company said those rods offer an unexpected saving in longer times between refueling, and that could benefit customers almost as much as the power upgrade.

"At this point, we believe it is reasonable to conclude that further investment in the project will not benefit our customers," Xcel told the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

Instead of relying on bigger fuel rods to boost electricity output by 12 percent, as originally planned, the rods could keep the reactors running two years between refueling compared with the current 18 months. That's a significant saving because refueling requires a reactor to be shut down for weeks.

Xcel first raised questions with regulators about the Prairie Island upgrade in March, though it still believed the project was a value for customers. While regulators reconsidered the matter, the company stopped further spending on the project. The next steps would have meant installing a larger turbine and other equipment.

Now, Xcel said, even the $10 million benefit of proceeding with the project could be lost to possible delay in obtaining safety-related approval for the upgrade from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

"We believe it is far more likely that the benefits will be further reduced as the project proceeds," Xcel told regulators.

The state commission is scheduled to consider the Prairie Island power-boosting project over the next two weeks. Xcel has asked for a two-month comment period to allow the state Commerce Department and others who watch utility matters to weigh in on the company's decision.

Prairie Island was built in the early 1970s and is licensed until early in the 2030s.

___

Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Midwest economic index slumped in July Mid-America Business Conditions Index dropped more than 3½ percentage points

    August 1, 2014

  • Minnesota gay marriage law reaches anniversary ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — It's been a year since Minnesota's gay and lesbian couples got the right to legally marry. The anniversary of the state allowing same-sex marriage arrived Friday. It was a quieter scene than last year when couples lined up to

    August 1, 2014

  • 35 killed, soldier missing as Gaza truce unravels GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A Gaza cease-fire quickly unraveled Friday as violence erupted in and around the southern town of Rafah, with 35 Palestinians killed by Israeli shelling and the military saying one of its soldiers may have been abducted.

    August 1, 2014

  • Minimum wage increases to $8 an hour in Minnesota ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minimum-wage earners in Minnesota get a pay raise to $8 an hour. For Minnesota's lowest-paid workers, the most welcome move the Legislature made this year was increasing the minimum wage for the first time in nearly a decade.

    August 1, 2014

  • Congress racing to finish Congress races to finish veterans, highway bills

    July 31, 2014

  • Target New CEO [Duplicate] Target names Pepsi's Cornell as chairman, CEO MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Target has hired Pepsi executive Brian Cornell as its new chairman and CEO as it looks to recover from a huge data breach and troubles in Canada. Cornell replaces interim CEO John Mulligan, who is chief financial officer for the M

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brain wave monitoring is better gauge than using a focus group, study says To predict a large population’s likely response to something — a product, politician or policy — political consultants, marketing gurus and advertising execs have long favored the focus group. Ask a small segment of the target audience what it thinks

    July 31, 2014

  • Argentina slides into default as debt talks fail NEW YORK (AP) — The collapse of talks with U.S. creditors sent Argentina into its second debt default in 13 years and raised questions about what comes next for financial markets and the South American nation's staggering economy. A midnight Wednesd

    July 31, 2014

  • Exchange Bee Researcher [Duplicate] Bee researcher takes aim at central Minnesota park WAITE PARK — Crystal Boyd strained four bees, three flies and one leafhopper from a yellow pan trap, the third of 12 in a transect topping a granite outcrop in Quarry Park Scientific and Natural Area.She popped everything into a labeled, zip-top plas

    July 31, 2014 4 Photos

  • Cinema verite documentarian Robert Drew dies at 90 Filmmaker Robert Drew, a pioneer of the modern documentary who in "Primary" and other movies mastered the intimate, spontaneous style known as cinema verite and schooled a generation of influential directors that included D.A. Pennebaker and Albert M

    July 30, 2014