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Feds scrutinize Prairie Island nuclear plant

Federal regulators will hold a meeting this week to inquire into what's being done to resolve employee performance concerns at the Prairie Island nuclear plant, just across the Mississippi river from Prescott.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says it wants a discussion of human performance at the nuclear power plant. The NRC is also doing a broader review of whether to renew Prairie Island's license.

NRC spokeswoman Viktoria Mitlyng says human performance problems often underlie equipment failures. Mitlyng says it's kind of like a car engine burning out because a person didn't have the oil changed.

The NRC first warned Xcel Energy, which owns the Prairie Island plant, about the performance problems last year. The utility made some changes, but about five months ago, the NRC issued a letter saying not everything had been resolved.

Mitlyng says a meeting this week in Red Wing, Minn., will give Xcel a chance to update the public. She says many U.S. nuclear power plants have had human performance problems.