Low water levels force power plant to dredge Cedar River

Photo by NRCgov, Flickr.

Two days ago we reported that low stream flows are negatively impacting water recreation in Iowa. The low water levels are also forcing the Duane Arnold Energy Center nuclear power plant to dredge a portion of the Cedar River.

The power plant uses water from the Cedar River to cool steam after it has been used to generate electricity. Without the water, the power plant would not be able to operate.

If the Cedar River’s water levels get too low, there’s a chance that the power plant would have to temporarily shut down.

Read more from The Gazette here.

Records aren’t flawless, but nuclear plants near Iowa likely safe

Duane Arnold Energy Center - in Palo, Iowa - has received notices about four violations in the past five years, including two from incidents dating back to 2003 and 2004.

Are Iowa’s nearby nuclear power plants safe? For the most part, yes.

Though the reactors in Iowa and those near our border have occasionally violated federal regulations, redundant safety systems have generally kept them operating safely and none have received fines in the past five years, according to a Des Moines Register study.

Except for one key violation in Nebraska, violations have mostly been minor – enough to worry nuclear skeptics yet still maintain the steadfast support of proponents.  Continue reading

Iowa may soon see nuclear power


Photo by Petr Adamek, Wikimedia Commons

A bill to incentivize construction of nuclear power plants will likely sail through the Iowa legislature, say supporters and opponents of the legislation.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports:

Bills introduced for study in the commerce subcommittees of the Iowa House and Senate provide broad support for nuclear power. They also set up a regulatory mechanism that would allow regulated utilities in Iowa to begin charging customers for the cost of nuclear power facilities while they are under construction.

Plans from the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon dioxide emissions have breathed fresh life into the nation’s nuclear power industry, which saw little new construction for several decades until last year.

Currently, Iowa has just one nuclear power plant, 37-year-old Duane Arnold Energy Center near Palo.  Continue reading