High winds that caused damage across central Iowa last week have prompted NextEra Energy to close the Duane Arnold nuclear power plant about two months earlier than originally planned. The plant’s 622-MWe boiling water reactor has been off line since August 10, when a line of intense, fast-moving windstorms, called derechos, caused a loss of off-site power and damaged the plant’s cooling towers. NextEra had planned to permanently shut down Duane Arnold, Iowa’s only nuclear power reactor, on October 30.
From NextEra: The company released the following statement on its decision to not restart the reactor: “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.
“As we have done since we announced the decommissioning of Duane Arnold in 2018, we will continue to work with all our employees to minimize the impact of this situation on them and their families.”