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'Unusual event' declared at Prairie Island

Officials at the Prairie Island nuclear plant near Red Wing have terminated a Notification of Unusual Event.

The event was declared today at 2:18 p.m. Plant officials made the declaration due to the temporary failure of some security equipment. The equipment has been restored, and plant officials are evaluating the cause. Plant security was maintained throughout the event.

The declaration was terminated at 5:54 p.m. following a thorough assessment of plant conditions. That assessment confirmed there were no issues or conditions that warranted continuation of the declaration.

At no point was there any release of radioactive materials and there was no danger to the public or plant employees.

Plant operations were not affected by this event. Unit 1 remains off-line for its planned refueling outage. Unit 2 is operating safely at full power.

A Notification of Unusual Event declaration is the lowest of four emergency classifications established by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The declaration indicates a potential reduction in the level of safety at the plant but no threat to public safety. The declaration's purpose is to have the plant's operating staff reach a state of readiness for emergency response if necessary.

The Prairie Island nuclear plant is 28 miles southeast of Minneapolis-St. Paul and about six miles northwest of Red Wing. The plant's two pressurized water reactors generate 1,076 megawatts of electricity. Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy owns and operates the plant.