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Public meeting on Prairie Island expansion issues

September 03, 2008

Public meeting on Prairie Island expansion issues

For Immediate Release: September 3, 2008                            
Contact: Bill Walsh (651) 296-7531

Public meeting set for Wednesday, September 10 in Red Wing, MN.

(St. Paul, MN…) The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Office of Energy Security (OES) has prepared a draft scoping decision for an environmental impact statement (EIS) for two proposed projects at Xcel Energy's Prairie Island nuclear generating power plant: expansion of the plant's spent fuel storage facility and an extended power "uprate." Xcel is asking for the "uprate" in order to increase the plant's generating capacity.

The draft scoping decision identifies issues and analyses to be included in the EIS. It is preliminary and subject to revision based on public comments. The purpose of the EIS scoping process is to help focus the EIS on the most significant issues and alternatives that are relevant to the proposed project.

Public Meeting

The Office of Energy Security (OES) will conduct a public information and environmental impact statement (EIS) scoping meeting on Wednesday, September 10 at 7:00 PM at the Red Wing Public Library, 225 East Ave., Red Wing, MN. The purpose of the meeting is to provide information to the public about Xcel Energy's proposed projects and to identify issues to study in an environmental impact statement to be prepared by the OES.

The public is invited to review the certificate of need applications and the site permit application, learn more about the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission permitting process, and ask questions.  Representatives from the OES and Xcel Energy will be available to answer questions about the permitting process and the proposed projects.  Members of the public will have an opportunity to ask questions, present comments, and propose issues, alternatives and specific impacts to be addressed in the EIS.

Comments

Comments on the proposed scope of the EIS for the power uprate and spent fuel storage expansion projects are due to the OES by October 7, 2008. Comments should be mailed or e-mailed to:

Bill Storm, Project Manager
Minnesota Department of Commerce
85 7th Place East, Suite 500
Saint Paul, Minnesota, 55101-2198
bill.storm@state.mn.us

Proposed Projects

Xcel Energy has proposed two projects at its Prairie Island plant which will be addressed in a single EIS: 1) An increase (uprate) in the electrical generating capacity of the Prairie Island plant from 1100 megawatts electric (MWe) to 1264 MWe, and 2) An expansion of the current Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI) to accommodate an additional 35 casks of spent nuclear fuel.  

The 164 MWe power uprate will be achieved by increasing the thermal output of the two nuclear reactors at the plant and capturing this additional output with improved electrical generation equipment and systems. The ISFSI expansion will require extension of the concrete storage pads within the current ISFSI to place the additional casks. The expansion would allow continued plant operations through 2034. Xcel Energy has applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for an operating license renewal to allow continued operation of the Prairie Island plant through 2034.

The proposed power uprate requires the issuance of a certificate of need (CON) and a site permit from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC).  The proposed ISFSI expansion requires the issuance of a CON from the PUC.  The Office of Energy Security must prepare an EIS on the proposed projects before the PUC can issue a CON or site permit.   

Draft EIS Scoping Decision Availability

Public review copies of the draft scoping decision are available at the following libraries:

Red Wing Public Library
315 West 4th Street
Red Wing, MN 55066

Hastings Public Library
830 Vermillion Street
Hastings, MN 55033

Ellsworth Public Library
312 West Main Street
Ellsworth, WI 54011

St. Paul Public Library
90 Fourth St. West
St. Paul, MN 55102

The draft scoping decision is available on the Public Utilities Commission website: http://energyfacilities.puc.state.mn.us/Docket.html?Id=19602 .  Copies can also be obtained by contacting Bill Storm, OES Project Manager, at the Department of Commerce.