One of two reactors at the Prairie Island nuclear generating plant was automatically shut down Sunday night because of a malfunction.

Xcel Energy officials said there was no risk to employees or the public.

A malfunction in the feedwater system, which supplies water to the steam generator, caused the shutdown about 10:20 p.m., said Xcel spokesman Tom Hoen. Crews were still working on repairs Monday.

Each reactor at the plant, which is about 30 miles southeast of the Twin Cities, provides electricity to about 400,000 homes, Hoen said.

Sunday's shutdown, however, has not forced the company to find alternative sources for electricity in part because few air conditioners are running during the recent spate of cool weather.

During outages, Xcel can buy electricity from other utilities or increase production at its other generating plants.

Mary Lynn Smith