Located on a 520-acre site about 40 miles southeast of Minneapolis-St. Paul and about five miles north of Red Wing, the 1,100MW Prairie nuclear station has two reactors, each with a power generating capacity of 550MW.

The produced power from the plant will be enough to provide electricity to almost one million homes.

AREVA manufactured both the steam generators at its Chalon/Saint-Marcel facility and transported the huge components across the Atlantic Ocean to Mississippi River and to the nuclear site.

Each steam generator is 21m tall and weighs 330t and will be stored securely on-site until installation during the planned refueling outage in the final quarter of 2013.

AREVA CEO Mike Rencheck said, "These massive components represent over 600 tons of American energy security, and we congratulate Xcel Energy on their investment to ensure the sustained supply of safe, clean, ’round-the-clock’ nuclear power from their Prairie Island facility."

Xcel Energy senior vice president and chief nuclear officer Tim O’Connor said the investments in the Prairie nuclear station will ensure that the plant will operate safely and reliably for the next 20 years.

"Investments in our nuclear plants ensure they will continue to generate low-cost, carbon free electricity, which is a great value for our customers," O’Connor added.

Parairie nuclear plant is owned by Northern States Power Company, a subsidiary of US-based utility company Xcel Energy, which also operates the nuclear station.