Nuclear power uprate granted at Monticello plant

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The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved a power uprate project at the Monticello nuclear power plant in Minnesota.

Northern States Power Co. applied for the uprate in November 2008 to increase the maximum core thermal power level from 1,775 MWt to 2,004 MWt, which equates to an electrical output increase from 600 MWe to 671 MWe.

The NRC staff’s review included Monticello’s use of a Westinghouse-designed steam dryer, making Monticello the first U.S. nuclear plant to use it. The design has been in use in nine European nuclear plants over the past 25 years. The staff also concluded that Northern States properly applied NRC guidance to crediting containment accident pressure, but said the issue may need to be revisited because of ongoing post-Fukushima actions.

Northern States expects to begin the project this month.

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