August 1, 2008

BRIEF: Unit at Prairie Island Nuclear Plant Unexpectedly Shuts Down

By Paul Walsh, Star Tribune, Minneapolis

Aug. 1--An unexpected automatic shutdown of a unit at the Prairie Island nuclear power plant has occurred, but the consequences are expected to be minimal, Xcel Energy said this morning.

Xcel Energy said the shutdown happened at 8:17 a.m. Thursday while plant operators were conducting routine tests.

There were no injuries and no radiological release, and no emergency response was needed, the company said.

Prairie Island's other unit continues to operate at full power.

Plant operators are investigating the cause of the shutdown, and repairs will be made before returning the unit to service, the company said.

The idled unit should be down "no more than a few days," said Xcel spokeswoman Mary Sandok.

As with any planned or unplanned power outage, Xcel Energy said it ramps up other generating units or buys power from other utilities to ensure enough power for its customers.

Prairie Island, near Red Wing, generates enough electricity to power approximately 750,000 homes.

Paul Walsh --612-673-4482


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