Prairie Island Reactor Gets New Steam Generators, Returns to Full Power

Updated: 01/13/2014 2:49 PM By: Megan Stewart

Photo: Photo: KSTP file photo

The downed unit at the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant returned to full power Monday at 2 a.m., according to Xcel Energy.

The Unit 2 reactor at the Red Wing plant now produces electricity with two new steam generators, which were installed during a refueling and maintenance outage that began on Sept. 21.

Around 1,500 contractors helped plant staff replace two 40-year-old steam generators and one-third of the unit's fuel. Each of the reactors runs nonstop and are refueled every 18 months.

When both of the 550-megawatt reactors are operating, the plant generates enough electricity to power nearly 1 million homes. During refueling outages, Xcel purchases energy from the Midcontinent Independent System Operator and other utilities.