IOWA DERECHO 2020

Duane Arnold nuclear plant won't restart after Iowa derecho damage

Decommissioning of plant was set for October, but timeline moved up after significant storm damage

Water vapor rises from the cooling tower at the NextEra Energy Duane Arnold Energy Center in Palo in this 2019 photo. (J
Water vapor rises from the cooling tower at the NextEra Energy Duane Arnold Energy Center in Palo in this 2019 photo. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Duane Arnold Energy Center officials decideded to close the nuclear facility permanently after experiencing significant damage from the Aug. 10 derecho, a NextEra Energy Resources spokesman said Monday.

“After conducting a complete assessment of the damage caused by recent severe weather, NextEra Energy Resources has made the decision not to restart the reactor,” spokesman Peter Robbins said.

Duane Arnold, the only nuclear power plant in Iowa, was scheduled to be decommissioned Oct. 30.

The derecho caused “extensive” damage to the facility’s cooling towers, Robbins said. Replacing the cooling towers with fewer than three months until decommissioning was “not feasible,” he added.

Robbins said NextEra Energy Resources will “continue to work with all our employees to minimize the impact of this situation on them and their families.”

Before the derecho, employees were taking early retirements, looking for other jobs within the company or staying at NextEra to manage the decommissioned site. Those options remain intact, Robbins said.

“It doesn’t change the outcomes for those folks,” Robbins said. “It just affects the timing of it.”

Comments: (319) 398-8394; john.steppe@thegazette.com

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