Prairie Island Nuclear Power Plant
Prairie Island Nuclear Power Plant

Minnesota’s nuclear power fleet is operating safely, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission reports.

The NRC held a virtual meeting June 10 to discuss the 2020 safety performance inspection results of the Prairie Island and  Monticello power plants. Both plants were found to have operated safely and received all green indicators for very low safety concerns.

Congress created the NRC in 1974 -- the same year Northern States Power Co. brought the last of three reactors online -- to “ensure the safe use of radioactive materials for beneficial civilian purposes while protecting people and the environment,” according to the NRC.

One way the NRC ensures overall safety is by conducting inspections of every plant in the U.S. to make sure they are following regulations and requirements. Inspectors are present daily.

The  Prairie Island and Monticello nuclear power plants recently received their 2020 safety results after 2,822 hours and 2,744 hours of inspections respectively.

Both units of the Prairie Island plant operated safely and in a manner that preserved the public health and the environment. They received all green performance indicators.

According to Dan Tesar, senior resident inspector, one green finding was associated with a non-cited violation for the failure to do load following operations to assure rod cluster control assembly functions. 

One Prairie Island unit did receive a non-cited severity level IV violation for the failure to make a procedure for the cask transport vehicle. 

The Monticello plant also operated safely with green performance indicators.

One green finding was associated with a non-cited violation for the failure to maintain a sufficient fire protection system functional test procedure, according to Chuck Norton, senior resident inspector.

As a result of both plant findings, Prairie Island and Monticello will receive a normal level of oversight in 2021.

The NRC assigns more oversight to plants with performance problems.

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