Xcel Energy has powered down its Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant to allow it to more quickly perform the repairs needed to permanently resolve a leak of water containing tritium at the plant. The company does not anticipate any impacts to customers’ electric service from powering the plant down early.

“While the leak has continued to pose no risk to the public or the environment, we determined the best course of action is to power down the plant and perform the permanent repairs immediately,” said Chris Clark, president of Xcel Energy–Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. “We are continuing to work with and inform our state, federal, city and county leaders in the process.”

After identifying the source of the leak late last year, which posed no health and safety risk to the local community or the environment, Xcel Energy implemented a short-term solution to capture water from the leaking pipe and reroute it back into the plant for re-use. This solution was originally designed to prevent any new tritium from reaching the groundwater until the company could install a replacement pipe.

Workers at the Plant have started a month-long refueling and maintenance effort, allowing the facility to continue providing reliable, carbon-free energy for more than 500,000 customers in the Upper Midwest.

About 800 skilled workers and specialized contractors will be at the site to perform the work, providing a significant boost to the local economy. The effort, which happens every two years, helps set up the plant for a future extension of its operations, which will play an important part in achieving Minnesota’s goal of 100% carbon-free energy by 2040.

 “Nuclear power is a key part of the clean energy transition because of its unique combination of reliability, affordability, and zero emissions,” said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy – Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. “Our nuclear energy plants today generate about half our carbon free energy for our Upper Midwest customers and provide reliable, clean power, which is a great value and represents a major investment in the region.” 

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