Xcel Energy awards nuclear fuel contract for Monticello Nuclear Power Plant

Wilmington, N.C., July 28, 2010 — With more utilities seeking to boost the output of their existing nuclear power plants to generate more low-carbon electricity, Global Nuclear Fuel Americas is manufacturing more efficient fuel technology to help operators achieve their energy and emissions-reduction goals.

Xcel Energy is the latest U.S. utility to address its future nuclear fuel supply needs by selecting GNF to continue providing reliable fuel and reload-engineering services to the company’s Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant. The plant is located about 50 miles northwest of Minneapolis, where Xcel Energy is headquartered.

Based in Wilmington, N.C., GNF is a GE-led joint venture with Hitachi Ltd. and Toshiba Corp. GNF is the a fabricator and supplier of boiling water reactor fuel and services.

Xcel Energy has proposed an extended power uprate at Monticello, a multi-year overhaul of reactor components and systems designed to boost the plant’s total generating capacity.

The proposal, which is pending before the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, would boost the facility’s capacity to about 120 percent of the plant’s originally licensed thermal power.

GNF will support implementation of Monticello’s EPU by applying proven GNF reactor codes and methods that will further optimize the fuel loading to take advantage of other EPU plant modifications.

Ultimately, this will increase the thermal output of the fuel in certain locations within the reactor core. This will result in the production of more steam that will be delivered to the turbine-generator system to generate additional electricity.

Monticello features one GE-designed, BWR-3 reactor that began commercial operation in June 1971 and currently generates about 585 MW (net), which is enough electricity to meet the needs of more than 500,000 customers.

The facility is owned and operated by Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota, an Xcel Energy operating company.

As part of the $12 million contract, GNF will deliver the enriched fuel to Monticello at the beginning of 2013, prior to the unit’s next fuel reloading outage. Every two years, Xcel Energy replaces about a third of the fuel in the Monticello reactor. Between refueling outages, the plant typically operates at full output around the clock.

In 2007, GE (now GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy) announced it had been awarded a contract to provide critical components and engineering to support implementation of the Monticello EPU project.

GE — and later GNF — have been Monticello’s primary fuel suppliers since the unit began operating in 1971.

In January 2010, the joint venture of GNF celebrated its 10th anniversary. Since its establishment in 2000, GNF has manufactured more than 1.5 billion fuel pellets for utilities to generate enough electricity to serve the equivalent of 300 million U.S. homes.

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