NRC cites Prairie Island nuclear unit for loss of high-range gas detector

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission cited the Prairie Island nuclear plant for a safety violation that will result in additional oversight. The two-unit, 1,100 MW plant, located in Welch, Minn., 45 miles southwest of Minneapolis, is operated by Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota, a subsidiary of Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL).

During a December 2012 inspection, the NRC found that the plant operators had failed to maintain an effective emergency plan by not prioritizing the repair of a high range vent gas radiation detector. This detector is used to help determine if an incident should be classified as a general or site area emergency, the two highest of the NRC’s emergency classifications.

While the detector was out of service, alternative methods of detection were in place. The utility has repaired the detector, and the event had no impact on the safety of the public.

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