Operations extended at Xcel Energy’s Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant until 2040

Published on August 29, 2023 by Chris Galford


In signing off on increased storage of spent nuclear fuel at Xcel Energy’s Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) last week greenlit a further 10 years of operation at the site.

As a result, Monticello will be in operation until 2040. Together with Prairie Island Nuclear Plant, Monticello provides more than 30 percent of the electricity Xcels upper Midwest customers use. Last year, they provided nearly 14,700 GW hours of energy, and the company has labeled them critical to achieving a fully carbon-free electricity portfolio by 2040.

“We thank the Commission, Minnesota Department of Commerce and other stakeholders for their careful review and recognition of the importance of the Monticello nuclear plant to our shared clean energy goals,” Chris Clark, president of Xcel Energy – Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, said. “Nuclear power is crucial to achieving those goals because of its unique combination of reliability, affordability, and zero emissions.”

Part of the reason these sites are so prized by Xcel is their regularity. They tend to operate even through extreme weather, shutting down only to refuel the reactors every two years. In recent years, Monticello has updated its efficiency and cut its operating costs by 35 percent over the past decade.

Xcel also filed for an extension with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, requesting an extension for the plant’s operating license at the federal level. A decision is expected in late 2024.