Monticello nuke down 5 1/2 months and $267 million over budget

83% cost overrun on a 12% power upgrade, but no worries! Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant The nuke operator will pass that through to the customers. Duke had the good sense to shut down Crystal River. Maybe we should stop the new nukes at Plant Vogtle, which have already run up more than twice the cost overruns of Monticello, before they cost us even more for power we could get much faster and on-budget through solar or wind energy.

Katherine Tweed wrote for IEEE Spectrum 16 July 2013, Minnesota Nuclear Plant Upgrade Is $267 Million Over Budget,

After being shut down for four months, Minnesota’s Monticello nuclear power plant will restart this week with an additional 71 megawatts of capacity, a 12 percent power uprate. The increased costs, however, will far outstrip the additional percentage of power production.

The project, which included maintenance, upgrades and the uprate, was budgeted at $320 million. But Monticello has cost overruns of about 83 percent, or $267 million, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The plant’s owner, Xcel Energy, has not released the final cost to the public, claiming that the figures are trade secrets. But state regulators do know the costs, which will be passed on to Xcel’s customers. The company told the Star Tribune it would release details on the cost and why the project went so over budget in the future.

Customers have to pay for these “trade secrets” and tax-funded regulators know them but won’t tell the public. Does that seem right to you?

Monticello is hardly the first nuclear power plant to suffer a massive cost increase. In three southern U.S. states, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, customers are paying billions for reactors that aren’t yet producing power, according to Mark Cooper of the Vermont Law School Institute for Energy and the Environment. And elsewhere in Georgia, Southern Company reportedly spent at least $737 million more than it originally slated for two new nuclear reactors it is adding to a facility along the Savannah River.

Monticello is an old plant, licensed by the NRC September 1970. It’s currently owned by Northern States Power Company — Minnesota (according to NRC), which is apparently now part of Xcel Energy,

About three miles northwest of Monticello, Minn., and 40 miles northwest of the Twin Cities on the banks of the Mississippi River.

They always are on the banks of a river, lake, or ocean for cooling water. Do we want these overly-expensive white elephants sucking up our water that we need for drinking, agriculture, and fish?

The IEEE Spectrum article concluded:

Still, natural gas can’t be the whole answer for Xcel Energy. A 2007 Minnesota law requires it to produce 31.5 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

How about if we do that in Georgia!