The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved a request by Northern States Power Company to increase the generating capacity of its Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant units 1 and 2 by 1.64%.

The NRC staff determined that Northern States Power could safely increase the reactors’ output primarily through more accurate means of measuring feedwater flow.

The NRC safety evaluation of the plant’s proposed power uprate focused on several areas, including the nuclear steam supply systems, instrumentation and control systems, electrical systems, accident evaluations, radiological consequences, fire protection, operations and training, testing, and technical specification changes.

Northern States Power intends to implement the uprate in February 2011, increasing the capacity of Prairie Island 1 from 551 to 560MWe and Prairie Island 2 from 545 to 554MWe. Northern States Power is a subsidary of Xcel Energy, which operates three reactors: Prairie Island 1&2 and Monticello. In 2009, 12% of the electricty supplied by Xcel Energy came from nuclear power.

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