ARTICLE

Duane Arnold Energy Center generates $255 million impact

Study shows nuclear plant near Palo supports over 1,100 jobs

Steam rises from cooling towers at the Duane Arnold Energy Center near Palo. A Nuclear Energy Institute study found the plant generates more than a quarter-billion-dollar economic impact annually for Iowa’s economy. (Jonathan Woods/The Gazette)
Steam rises from cooling towers at the Duane Arnold Energy Center near Palo. A Nuclear Energy Institute study found the plant generates more than a quarter-billion-dollar economic impact annually for Iowa’s economy. (Jonathan Woods/The Gazette)

A study commissioned by NextEra Energy, majority owner of the Duane Arnold Energy Center near Palo, shows Iowa’s only nuclear power plant generates more than a quarter-billion-dollar economic impact annually for the state’s economy.

The Nuclear Energy Institute, the nuclear energy industry’s policy organization, used purchase order expenditures, employee compensation figures and tax payment data to develop its study. The data was applied to an impact analysis developed for the federal government by RTI International of North Carolina’s Research Triangle.

The NEI study determined that the plant stimulates $246 million of economic activity locally and contributes approximately $255 million to Iowa’s economy each year. The study found that for every $1 spent by the plant, the Iowa economy produced $1.27.

The NEI study also determined that DAEC pays $3 million in direct state and local property taxes annually.

NEI said the plant pays higher than average annual wages to its 610 full-time employees. Because their work is very technical in nature, DAEC employees earn more than double the average amount of pay for workers in Benton County and approximately 55 percent more than those in Linn County.

In addition to its full-time employees, the plant indirectly supports 504 workers in the region who provide services and supplies to the facility.

Rich Anderson, NextEra Energy site vice president at DAEC, said NEI analyzed data from 2011, a non-outage year, to provide a baseline for the economic impact from spending on products and services required to operate the plant.

“In years with refueling outages, the impact is significantly higher because we bring in anywhere from 800 to 1,500 contract workers,” Anderson said. “We also execute major capital projects at the plant during an outage year.

“During the last refueling outage in 2012, we spent nearly $50 million on capital projects. I believe we will be close to $35 million this year,”

The NEI study was reviewed by John Solow, a University of Iowa economics professor who regularly performs financial analyses of nuclear power for the U.S. Department of Energy.

“The NEI report provides a sensible and credible estimate of the substantial and positive impacts the Duane Arnold Energy Center has on our local, regional and national economies,” Solow said.

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