Nuclear reactor at Xcel’s Prairie Island plant remains offline after ‘unusual event’ reported Saturday

One of two nuclear generators at Xcel Energy’s Prairie Island plant in Red Wing was shut down Saturday after an “unusual event” was reported to federal regulators, the company confirmed Wednesday.

The shutdown resulted in a “Notification of Unusual Event,” the lowest of four emergency classifications that are reported to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). There is no threat to public safety, according to a news release.

An Xcel Energy spokesperson told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that an external transformer malfunctioned Saturday, triggering a fire alarm at the plant’s second generator. This resulted in an automatic shutdown of the generator, but no fire was found.

“Operators are investigating and will resolve any issues with the transformer before returning Unit 2 to service,” Xcel Energy noted in a news release, adding Unit 1 is still online and generating electricity.

The plant notified the city of Red Wing Saturday evening, according to Red Wing police.

Xcel Energy says the company plans to return Unit 2 to operation later this week after completing work on the transformer that malfunctioned.