Xcel Energy powers down nuclear plant to fix tritium leak

March 27, 2023
The company plans to permanently fix the leak during the downtime.

A tritium leak is forcing Xcel Energy to temporarily shut down its Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant. Last year, Xcel Energy identified the source of the leak and implemented a short-term solution, which was designed to reroute water from a leaking pipe back into the facility. The company hoped this temporary fix would last until mid-April when a replacement pipe would be installed during a regularly scheduled refueling outage.

Unfortunately, the solution is no longer capturing 100% of the leaking water, and some has reached the groundwater. Xcel Energy asserts that the new leak, which is much smaller than the original leak, “does not pose any risk to health or the environment.” The company plans to permanently fix the leak during the downtime. 

In a recent quote, Chris Clark, president of Xcel Energy, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, said, “While the leak continues to pose no risk to the public or the environment, we determined the best course of action is to power down the plant and perform the permanent repairs immediately. We are continuing to work with and inform our state, federal, city and county leaders in the process.”