Iowa’s last nuclear power plant continues decommissioning process
The NextEra Energy Duane Arnold Energy Center in Palo, Iowa, on Monday, April 8, 2019. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
PALO — Duane Arnold Energy Center will eliminate 47 jobs by June 30, according to a notice NextEra Energy Resources filed with Iowa Workforce Development.
NextEra spokesman Peter Robbins said most of the cuts are coming via planned retirements or early retirement agreements.
“No one is being separated from the company involuntarily,” Robbins told The Gazette.
“Our goal from the very beginning of this was to minimize the impact on employees.”
NextEra planned to decommission Duane Arnold Energy Center, the last nuclear power plant operating in Iowa, last October. The company shut down the facility a couple months early, though, after the Aug. 10 derecho caused “extensive” damage to the facility.
Duane Arnold eliminated 128 positions about a month later, according to another notice filed with IWD.
NextEra will have more “gradual workforce reductions” in a five-to-seven-year period, Robbins said, until it has fewer than 50 employees at the site. He said there are a couple hundred employees still working at the Palo facility.
“Decommissioning a nuclear power plant is a pretty complex process, and it takes time,” Robbins said.
The Florida-based energy company unveiled plans in March for a 3,000-acre solar project near the decommissioned nuclear site with the goal of beginning operations in 2023.
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