Nuclear power plants to get safety upgrades

Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) said it is preparing to spend between $20 million and $50 million on safety upgrades at two nuclear power plants in Minnesota.

According to the Minnesota Star Tribune, Xcel is looking to install diesel pumps and portable generators at its single-unit, 610 MW Monticello and the two-unit, 1,100 MW Prairie Island plants in accordance with task force rules from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The pumps and generators can be quickly deployed if all backup electricity went out as it did at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan last March.

One of NRC’s rules call for installing containment vents at power plants with GE (NYSE: GE) Mark I and Mark II reactors, similar to the design of the reactors at the Fukushima plant. Monticello uses a Mark I reactor.

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