MidAmerican Energy has begun the process of studying potential locations to build a new nuclear power plant in the state. Company spokesperson, Tina Potthoff, says the study is focusing on Muscatine in the east and Fremont County in the southwest corner of the state.
“When evaluating sites to include in this study, we look at things like geography, environmental issues, proximity to transportation routes and proximity to existing transmission lines,” Potthoff explains. She says the study is in reaction to a law the legislature enacted a law in 2010 directing MidAmerican to look at and analyze the possible construction of nuclear power-generating facilities.
“We are in the process of beginning soil and environmental sample taking, that’s a part of the study process to asses land suitability in the event that a determination will be made to develop the facility in the location,” Potthoff says. “And it is important to note that no decision has been made to build any generating facility in Iowa, this is simply part of the study process and those samples will be taken as several locations this fall. An overview of the study will be in 2013.”
Crews moving around taking soil samples have drawn notice from residents. “There’s definitely been an interest in this, as there should be. We want to make sure that we’re letting people know –especially in those sites where we might be on their land or their neighbor’s land — that they understand what is going on,” according Potthoff.
“The sites under study also may be a good location for other generating facilities in the future, especially a natural gas plant, if a nuclear plant is not pursued.” Iowa currently has just one nuclear power plant located in Palo in eastern Iowa.