Feds fault Monticello nuclear power plant's flood planning

  • Article by: David Shaffer , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 11, 2013 - 10:30 PM

Inspectors said Monticello plant wasn’t prepared for a major flood, but also said Xcel’s response means site is not now a “safety concern.”

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supervon2Jun. 11, 13 9:24 PM

I'm waiting for the "back to nature" comments to show up. Really, this plant, by now, has gone through every flood except for the one that will end the earth. Keep it going, folks!

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fatherofsonsJun. 12, 13 2:08 AM

Well, we do need "industrial strength non-stop power", and today solar/wind/etc can help but not replace on-demand power. Nuclear power may be safer overall then coal/oil/gas so there we are. However, a 1960's boiling water reactor design that has been subjecting its non-replaceable parts to hard radiation for 40 years (initial rated lifespan) is a risk. And, given that this risk is up stream from Minneapolis St Paul & with more than three million people, 50 more cities, lots of farm land and the Gulf, what shall we do? ... Xcel, the PUC/MN and consumers all want power, revenue (xcel), and tax income (MN) - kind of a conflict of interest... To avoid a failure we have to decide to shut it down (at great cost and loss of income/power) while everything is AOK, not "just in time", or too late. Meanwhile, 4 hours of battery time is not enough. The cooling pumps run on grid power and an F3 or tornado can absolutely destroy the power lines going to the plant. Could a flood, F4 or F5 tornado destroy the on site generator room? Could a realistic threat destroy enough ancillary equipment or just make the control room inaccessible? WHAT is our replacement plan for our two OLD, substandard design, aging plants that both are threats to the Mississippi watershed??? They are both past the original end of design life. What is the replacement / turn off plan? When? Twenty years from now is too long. And even at twenty years, we need a plan now.

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boris123Jun. 12, 13 7:29 AM

The facts are that since the opening of the Monticello nuclear plant the thermal discharge into the Mississippi river has raised the water temperature which has eliminated the late winter and spring ice dams forming at the confluence of the Elk River and the Mississippi and the annual flooding what is now Otsego - a suburban density populated town built on a flood plain. In that regard, the Monti Nuke plant has virtually eliminated flooding downstream. If the plant were to close, Otsego would then be Minnesota's Fargo in the spring.

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ruphinaJun. 12, 13 7:48 AM

Why do our government agencies insist on using colors to define threats? We left hieroglyphics and cave drawings behind a few thousand years ago when numbers were invented. Pick a scale, 1-5 or 1-10 already! Bill G.

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joe_mnJun. 12, 13 7:58 AM

Good story. HOW will we replace the plants. Conservation will not work. Coal is evil. NG is barely better. Hydro is unsuited for MN.

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imkirokJun. 12, 13 8:56 AM

Conservation will and does work, Joe. But I agree coal, natural gas and hydro aren't the solution. Considering the need right now is for peak power, we can get much of the extra demand from wind and solar if we start making the investments now. Compared to peak gas or coal, and when factoring in the cost to install pollution control equipment on old coal plants, renewables are just as cost effective as fossil fuels.

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joe_mnJun. 12, 13 9:18 AM

Extra demand? How about replacing ALL the power these plants produce? Remove them from the grid and where are we?

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