NRC approves generating uprate for Prairie Island nuclear power plant

Source: Nuclear regulatory Commission

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved a request by Northern States Power Company to increase the generating capacity of Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant Units 1 and 2 by 1.64 percent.

The NRC staff determined that Northern States Power could safely increase the reactors’ output primarily through more accurate means of measuring feedwater flow. NRC staff also reviewed the company’s evaluations showing the plant’s design can handle the increased power level.

The NRC safety evaluation of the plant’s proposed power uprate focused on several areas, including the nuclear steam supply systems, instrumentation and control systems, electrical systems, accident evaluations, radiological consequences, fire protection, operations and training, testing, and technical specification changes.

The power uprate for Prairie Island, located approximately 28 miles southeast of Minneapolis, Minn., will increase Unit 1’s generating capacity from approximately 551 to 560 megawatts electric and Unit 2’s generating capacity from approximately 545 to 554 megawatts electric. Northern States Power intends to implement the uprate in February 2011.

The Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant is a two-unit pressurized water reactor of Westinghouse design. The plant is located on the Mississippi River about 40 miles southeast of the Twin Cities and about 5 miles north of Red Wing, Minn. The Unit 1 reactor began operating in December 1973 and the Unit 2 reactor in December 1974. Currently each reactor unit has a capacity of about 550 megawatts, for a total plant output of about 1,100 megawatts.

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