Xcel planning for expanded spent fuel storage at Prairie Island

Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) utility subsidiary Northern States Power-Minnesota is seeking a long-term license extension for its dry cask spent fuel storage facility at the Prairie Island nuclear plant.

The NRC has received an application from the utility to renew Materials License Number SNM-2506 for the Prairie Island Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (PI ISFSI) located in Red Wing, Goodhue County, Minn.

The Xcel subsidiary is requesting that its spent fuel license be renewed for 40 years. That’s according to a letter filed with NRC and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

In 1993, the NRC issued the company a 20-year license to receive, possess, store, and transfer spent fuel generated from the operation of the Prairie Island plant to the dry cask storage site.

The current license enables the facility to store up to 48 Transnuclear fuel casks. The company already has a certificate of need from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for the expansion of the site to accommodate 64 casks.

That expansion won’t require any new construction or land disturbance at Prairie Island. When expansion is necessary a separate NRC licensing action and environmental review will occur. It is planned that two18-foot pads would be built immediately south of the existing pads, and be large enough to accommodate eight casks apiece.

Since expansion is not part of the proposed license renewal but is reasonably foreseeable, these activities would be evaluated in NRC’s cumulative effects analysis.

The five-acre dry cask storage site is located within the Prairie Island nuclear station about 28 miles southeast of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.

The NRC staff has initiated contact with 27 tribes about the project. To date, the Prairie Island Indian Community (PIIC) is the only Tribe that has expressed interest. The NRC staff invited tribal members to participate in a site visit June 20-21.

The Prairie Island nuclear station includes two pressurized water reactors that together can generate more than 1,000 MW.

Xcel Energy is also planning to install two new steam generators at Prairie Island.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.