- My Account
Save Money & Energy
- Safety & Education
- Energy Partners
Our products and services differ based on state. Please select your state (or the state you're interested in) from the list to the left.
Why do our products and services differ based on state? Because our business is regulated by state. We have regulated operations in eight Western and Midwestern states. The different regulatory body for each state we serve determines what products and services we deliver in that state.
Location: About three miles northwest of Monticello, Minn., and 40 miles northwest of the Twin Cities on the banks of the Mississippi River.
Plant Description: Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant is a single unit boiling water reactor. The plant received its operating license from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in September 1970. More than 500 people are employed full time at Monticello. Xcel Energy also owns the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant near Red Wing, Minn.
In a boiling water reactor, water flows through the reactor and picks up heat released by the fissioning of uranium atoms. The water boils to steam, which then is directed to the turbine-generator to produce electricity. The reactor core holds 484 fuel assemblies. Each assembly is about 14 feet long and is a square array of individual fuel rods about the diameter of a finger. About every 22 months, the plant is shut down and one-third of the used fuel assemblies are removed from the core and replaced with new ones. The term “cycle” refers to the 22-month period of operation between refuelings.
Generating Capacity: 600 megawatts, enough electricity to serve about 500,000 homes.
The plant received a 40-year operating license from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 1970, and it began commercial operation in 1971. In 2006, the NRC renewed the Monticello plant’s license for 20 years, which will allow operations until 2030.
Monticello is among Xcel Energy’s lowest-cost sources of generation on a per megawatt-hour basis, and it does not produce any greenhouse gas emissions.
The plant runs essentially 24 hours a day, seven days per week, except during refueling outages, which occur approximately every 24 months and last about four to six weeks. The plant is highly reliable with a five-year average capacity factor of 83.9 percent from 2005 – 2009. (Capacity factor is the ratio of a power plant’s actual output over a period of time and its output if it had operated at full capacity the entire time.)
In 2006, Monticello generated slightly more than 5 million megawatt-hours of electricity, eclipsing its prior record set in 2004. For 2006, the capacity factor was 99.60 percent.In 2012, the capacity appeared headed to a record capacity factor of 99.89.
NRC ratings for the Monticello plant are at the highest ranking (green) for all 18 indicators monitored by the NRC.
Monticello generated a record 5.03 million megawatts hours of electricity in 2004, slightly more than the record set in 2002. In January 2007, Monticello reached 637 consecutive days of operation, the longest run in plant history.
Spent Fuel Storage
When used fuel is moved from the reactor, it is stored in a pool inside the plant. In the 1980s, Monticello shipped 1,058 spent fuel assemblies to a General Electric facility in Illinois. Monticello safely built a dry cask storage facility in 2007 - 2008. Ten canisters, each holding 61 fuel assemblies, were safely transferred to the concrete storage bunkers in the fall of 2008. The next fuel transfer will be an additional 10 canisters in 2013.
In fall 2004, the Xcel Energy's board of directors authorized pursuing license renewal for up to 20 years for the Monticello and Prairie Island plants. The NRC renewed Monticello’s operating license in late 2006, allowing that plant to operate for an additional 20 years to 2030.
In June, 2011, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted renewed operating licenses for Prairie Island units 1 and 2 for 20 years. The original licenses were set to expire in 2013 and 2014.
Extended Power Uprate
Plans are under way to increase the power output from the Monticello plant by approximately 70 megawatts. The project replaces several key plant components and is scheduled to be completed in 2013.
The Prairie Island and Monticello nuclear generating plants help Xcel Energy avoid producing hundreds of millions of tons of greenhouse gases or emissions, compared to fossil-fueled base-load power plants.
We have speakers on nuclear power available through our Speakers' Bureau.