The peak summer temperatures have drastically affected farmers’ crops this year, but it has also affected the nuclear industry, with multiple plants either temporarily removed from service or planning emergency mitigation efforts in order to stave off a potential lapse in service.
The solitary GE BWR Mark 1 reactor at the Duane Arnold Energy center in Palo, Iowa, is the only nuclear power reactor which commercially provides power to the grid in the state, and requires over 6,000 gallons of water a minute to ensure adequate cooling.
The heat wave has dropped river levels, and slowed the flow, which has put an enormous strain on workers and plant officials. The Cedar River, which is used as the primary source of coolant water, is currently showing only 21% of the normal water discharge rate downstream from the plant.
The Duane Arnold station utilizes the nearby Pleasant Creek Reservoir as an emergency source of cooling water, but it will not be used to supply extra cooling water during normal operations. Instead officials say they intend to dredge a section of the Cedar River which it draws coolant water from in order to ensure adequate flow and supply.
In December 2010, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted Duane Arnold a 20-year extension license lasting until 2034.
Source: The Gazette