Prairie Island license extensions approved

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved 20-year operating license extensions for the 551 MWe Unit 1 and 545 MWe Unit 2 at the Prairie Island nuclear power plant in Minnesota.

Plant owner Northern States Power Co. (NYSE: XCH), a unit of Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL), said it would invest at least $500 million in the plant through 2015. Xcel said it would apply later this year for an uprate and has plans to invest more if it is approved.

The renewals allow Unit 1 to operate until 2033 and Unit 2 until 2034. Both units are Westinghouse two-loop pressurized water reactors.

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