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Prairie Island plant returns to full power

Prairie Island nuclear plant’s Unit 1 reactor has returned to full power after a refueling and maintenance outage, Xcel Energy said Monday.

The unit was back to full power at 2:02 p.m. Friday after an outage that began Oct. 8. During the outage, 600 contractors helped staff replace a third of the unit’s fuel and perform maintenance tasks for the next operating cycle. Workers also replaced the unit’s main electrical transformer.

Each of the two 550-megawatt reactors at Prairie Island is refueled approximately once every 18 months. Unit 1’s outage ended a record 644-day nonstop run, Xcel said.

During refueling outages, Xcel purchases electricity from the Midcontinent Independent System Operator or other utilities or increases electricity production at its other generating plants to ensure an adequate power supply for customers.