The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has cited Iowa’s only nuclear power plant for a shortfall in funds for cleanup once the plant is decommissioned. The N.R.C. cites the Duane Arnold Energy Center near Palo and 25 other reactors for inadequate reserves.
Plant managers blame the shortfalls on poor stock market performance.
"Just like many others who saw investments decline last year, the decommision funds were not immune to financial crisis," says Renee Nelson, communications manager at the Duane Arnold plant. "But, our company remains committed to fulfiling our decommissioning financial obligations."
Nelson says the fund won’t be needed for a good long while, as plans call for the plant to be in operation for 25 more years.
"Because we will be doing that for a number of years, we will have plenty of time to ensure the decommissioning fund is at a level where it can support the eventual shutdown of the plant years and years down the road," Nelson says.
Duane Arnold’s license is set to expire in 2014, but the plant’s majority owner – Florida Power and Light – has applied for a license extension through 2034. Companies have as much as 60 years to tear down plants once they are taken out of service.