NextEra Energy Duane Arnold has an outstanding record of safe operations. The facility is designed to withstand earthquakes and other natural events more severe than ever recorded in the region. The plant is elevated 20 feet above the river level, which protects against flooding.
In addition, many layers of security protect the plant. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, federal and local law enforcement, as well as the Duane Arnold Energy Center’s own expert security team, are always on alert to ensure that plant facilities are protected and secure.
As part of our commitment to safety, our outdoor warning sirens are tested regularly. Siren tests are conducted by local emergency management officials on the first Wednesday of each month at about 8:45 a.m. and last two minutes or less.
Learn more about NextEra Energy Duane Arnold.
This website contains important emergency preparedness information for people located within 10 miles of the Duane Arnold Energy Center. It was developed by emergency management officials and provides basic information about what to do in the event of a nuclear emergency. This information is updated annually.
Being prepared is an important part of NextEra Energy Resources’ strategy to protect you and your family. State and local officials, together with NextEra Energy Resources, have prepared a detailed emergency plan to protect everyone within 10 miles of the plant. The plan is tested regularly through evaluated exercises and inspections.
In the unlikely event of an emergency at the Duane Arnold Energy Center that requires you to take any action, you would be notified by the outdoor warning sirens and the emergency alert system. Outdoor warning sirens would sound throughout the entire 10-mile emergency planning zone.
There are four emergency classifications at nuclear power plants. Each calls for a different level of response from plant and government personnel:
Sometimes, sheltering in place is the safest option. Sheltering in place means to remain where you are. If you are outdoors, immediately go into a nearby building.
If you are directed to shelter in place:
If you are in your car, at work, or away from home:
Evacuation is a protective recommendation for your safety. Please evacuate promptly once the recommendation is made. If you do not live in the area being evacuated, keep off roads so the people who most need to evacuate can.
If you are directed to evacuate:
Emergency reception center information
Farmers, food processors, and distributors in Linn and Benton counties are provided a brochure with specific safety and response information. The brochure includes information about actions needed to protect the food chain if there is an emergency at the Duane Arnold Energy Center. Farmers may need to put livestock in buildings. Farmers may also need to provide livestock with feed stored in sheds or silos and water from covered tanks.
In an emergency, information is provided to those who are affected.
Copies of the brochure, “State of Iowa Radiological Emergency Information for Farmers, Food Processors and Food Distributors,” are available from your county extension service. In Linn County call (319) 377-9839. In Benton County call (319) 472-4739.
If you, or members of your household, need assistance in an evacuation due to a physical, medical, or other functional or access needs, please register with your local emergency management agency. This will help the agency to plan for your transportation and sheltering needs. All information is kept confidential. There are several ways to register:
What if I am not registered and they call for an evacuation?
If you have not registered and need special transportation or shelter assistance during an evacuation, contact your local emergency management agency:
What if I am hearing impaired?
If you are hearing impaired, you can receive emergency information on your Telephone Device for the Deaf (TDD) by calling the following numbers:
What if I am in the hospital or a nursing home?
If there is an emergency at the Duane Arnold Energy Center, hospitals and nursing homes may be asked to shelter or evacuate patients. Depending on medical conditions, patients may be released to friends or relatives or relocated to facilities outside of the emergency planning zone. Patients unable to be evacuated will be sheltered at their care facility. Information about hospital and nursing home patients will be issued through the emergency alert system.
What about prisoners?
Plans are in place to protect imprisoned individuals. These plans will be executed by state and county officials.
Benefits of NextEra Energy Duane Arnold
Understanding nuclear energy
Nuclear power plants create steam to turn the blades of a turbine to generate electricity. Nuclear plants use uranium fuel in a process called nuclear fission. The fission reaction generates heat to create steam.
The uranium fuel inside the reactor is radioactive. It is securely contained and constantly monitored. The fuel is encased ceramic pellets which are stacked end-to-end inside long metal tubes. The tubes are assembled into fuel bundles that are immersed in water in the reactor core. The core is housed inside a nine-inch thick steel vessel. That vessel is inside a robust containment building made of steel-reinforced concrete.
Exposure to large amounts of radiation can be harmful to human health. However, given the nuclear industry’s strong commitment to safety, such exposures are extremely rare and unlikely.
Many monitoring devices placed in and around the Duane Arnold Energy Center can detect very small amounts of radiation. Plant operators are alerted if radiation amounts increase above the naturally occurring background levels. The operators then quickly notify state and county officials.
What is radiation?
Radiation is energy that is given off as a particle or wave. Radioactive elements are present naturally in small amounts throughout our environment. In the United States, natural sources, such as radon products, account for most of the radiation we are exposed to each year. Radiation also comes from medical tests such as X-rays, CT scans, and nuclear medicine studies. Normal everyday items such as smoke detectors also emit small amounts of radiation. Less than one percent of the radiation to which people are exposed comes from nuclear power plants.
If you have any questions or concerns about radiation, contact the Iowa Department of Public Health at (515) 281-3478.
Source: National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements Report 160 (2009)