Duane Arnold Nuclear Plant Will Permanently Close Early
Thanks to derecho damage, officials at Duane Arnold Energy Center said the planned permanent closure in October has been moved up.
NextEra Energy Resources spokesperson Peter Robbins told the Cedar Rapids Gazette the plant experienced "significant damage" and that "NextEra Energy Resources has made the decision not to restart the reactor". It was going to shut down Iowa's only nuclear reactor site on October 30 of this year.
With the closure imminent since it was announced 2 years ago, employees had been looking for new jobs with NextEra or taking early retirements. They still have those options, but may, of course, be dealing with derecho damage of their own. Robbins says they are working closely with these employees to minimize the combined effects of the derecho and the pandemic as well as the closure plans.
Iowa's News Now specifies the damage Duane Arnold faced, saying it included the cooling towers which are used to produce electricity to cool steam after it exits the turbine. Robbins says any damage was not necessarily critical, but just bad timing. NextEra Energy's statement read,in part:
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 at Duane Arnold Energy Center. The strong storms that hit the area on Aug. 10 caused extensive damage to Duane Arnold’s cooling towers, and our evaluation found that replacing those towers before the site’s previously-scheduled decommissioning on Oct. 30, 2020, was not feasible