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Cost overruns racing away at Monticello nuclear plant

nukes-hungryMonticello nuclear plant repairs surge $267 million over budget by: DAVID SHAFFER , Star Tribune July 15, 2013   The bill for upgrades to Monticello nuclear plant is expected to grow even more, which may affect utility’s rate hike request.MONTICELLO, MINN. – A major upgrade to Minnesota’s oldest nuclear power plant is finally finished — and way over budget.

Xcel Energy expects to restart its Monticello Nuclear Power Plant this week after a four-month shutdown that allowed workers to replace aging pumps and other equipment to keep the 43-year-old reactor running another two decades and to boost electric output by 12 percent.

But the cost of the work surged $267 million, or 83 percent, over its 2008 budget of $320 million. The Minneapolis-based electric and gas utility says the final costs will be even higher, but hasn’t publicly disclosed the amount.n the meantime, Xcel’s 1.2 million electric customers in Minnesota are being asked to pay for the cost overruns. This sort of nuclear-related expense is one of the major drivers behind Xcel’s requested rate hike that an administrative judge recently recommendedslashing to 4.7 percent. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will decide, probably this fall, how much more ratepayers will pay.

Utility officials declined to answer questions about the cost overruns, ……..

Just how much customers will have to bear remains unclear.

That’s partly because not all of the cost overruns have been disclosed. Under a state law, Xcel has classified its latest cost-overrun estimate as a “trade secret.” The estimate has been disclosed to regulators, however, and the Star Tribune last week petitioned to have it made public, but the PUC has not yet acted…….

July 16, 2013 - Posted by | business and costs, USA

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