Asbestos discovered at nuclear plant

Red Wing Republican Eagle

Published Thursday, May 11, 2006

Site officials announced Wednesday that asbestos was found last week in Prairie Island nuclear plant Unit 1â??s gasket material during work for equipment modification. Site management suspended work on the project amid concerns over the potentially cancer-causing material, according to a release from Nuclear Management Co.

The nuclear plant is the midst of a refueling outage.

The air, NMC officials said, immediately was monitored and tested according to Minnesota Clean Air requirements. While the results were â??well belowâ? regulatory limits, NMC officials said additional testing on surfaces by a certified lab indicated detectable levels of asbestos on some surfaces in the immediate area. Trained asbestos workers were performing a complete cleanup of the affected area.

Officials from the company said it and its contractor are taking precautionary actions for any employee with a concern for potential exposure. This includes offering an optional asbestos exposure examination in accordance with federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines.

NMC operates the Xcel Energy-owned Prairie Island plant.

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