ST. PAUL (AP) -- Minnesota's aging nuclear power plants face declining budgets for inspections and great expenses for security, a nuclear safety expert warned a legislative panel Wednesday.
"Plants are aging, and equipment is wearing out and breaking in areas that it wasn't ever anticipated when the plants were designed and built," said David Lochbaum, a nuclear safety engineer for the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Lochbaum told the Senate Commerce and Utilities Committee that safety could be compromised at plants unless federal funding increases.
Committee Chairwoman Ellen Anderson, DFL-St. Paul, said she expects the aging issue to be important because Xcel Energy's nuclear plants have been operating since the early 1970s, and the utility wants to expanded storage at its Monticello and Prairie Island nuclear plants.
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