Nuclear energy uprate project delayed

Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) delayed plans to boost the output at its 579 MWe Monticello nuclear power plant in Minnesota for at least a year.

Xcel planned to install new pumps that would be used during normal operations. When the pumps were tested before installation, they did not meet specifications, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper. The manufacturer needed more time to fix the problem, one of the factors in the delay.

The paper also reported that Xcel delayed the plans to increase generating capacity by 12 percent because of the need to furnish information to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) about the capabilities of emergency cooling pumps if the reactor’s power is increased. Xcel officials said they hope the delay will last no longer than a year, allowing the remainder of an estimated $133 million in plant modifications to take place during a fall 2012 refueling.

Monticello uses a General Electric (NYSE: GE) Type 3 boiling water reactor and has been in service since 1970.

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