MONTICELLO -- The Monticello Nuclear Power Plant is offline for the next nine weeks for a planned refueling outage.

The maintenance includes placing new fuel assemblies in the reactor, adding equipment to increase the plant's generating capacity and eight, new control rod blades. Xcel says the reactor is refueled every two years.

Xcel is also embarking on a $12.5-million project that builds a security access facility and a nearly $8-million project that installs enhanced fire protection systems.

During the maintenance shut-down, Xcel will buy power from other utilities to meet the demand for electricity.