Duane Arnold Energy Center aerial view

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.

Emergency preparedness plan for plant neighbors

Linn County Iowa Emergency Management logo
Benton County Iowa Emergency Management logo
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In An Emergency

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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.

  • When you become aware of an emergency, the best course of action is to monitor local radio or television stations for specific instructions.  While monitoring the situation, you should be preparing to either evacuate or shelter in place.
  • If you have questions about how to prepare or what to do, call United Way 2-1-1 or 1-866-469-2211 or from a cell phone 319-739-4211.
  • Take a moment to check-in with your neighbors to make sure they are aware of the situation. Please avoid using the telephone.
  • The 10-mile emergency planning zone has been divided into subareas. These subareas were established to help local officials provide clear evacuation and/or sheltering information for people in each subarea. If there were an emergency at the Duane Arnold Energy Center, it is unlikely everyone within the 10-mile radius would be affected. The area affected depends upon weather conditions, such as wind speed and direction and the severity of the situation.
  • Officials will broadcast up to the minute information during an emergency on local radio and television stations during all types of emergency events.
  • Hearing a siren or receiving an emergency alert does not necessarily mean you need to evacuate. Upon receiving an alert, go inside and monitor local radio and television stations for more information. The outdoor warning siren system is tested by local emergency management officials on the first Wednesday of every month. It starts at about 8:45 a.m. and tests both the public-address system as well as the steady and wail siren tones.
  • To supplement the warnings provided by the outdoor sirens and the emergency alert system, the public is encouraged to purchase a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tone alert weather radio. These radios can provide valuable warning and information in any emergency.
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Alerts and Warnings

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There are four emergency classifications at nuclear power plants. Each calls for a different level of response from plant and government personnel:

  • An Unusual Event is a minor incident such as severe weather and is the least serious of the four categories. Because of strict regulations, a number of events must be classified and reported as “unusual events” even though they pose no threat or danger to the public. Unusual Events do not require you to take any action.
  • An Alert is a minor incident that affects, or could potentially affect, reactor safety. There is the possibility of a small, limited release of radioactive material. It is rare for an Alert to require you to take any action. If action is needed, the emergency alert system will be used to notify you.
  • Site Area Emergency is a more serious incident such as a leak from the reactor coolant system. Radioactive releases are possible, but will not affect the areas beyond the plant property. If you need to take action, sirens will sound and the emergency alert system will be activated, alerting you to tune to local radio or television stations for official information.
  • General Emergency is the most severe emergency classification. Radioactive releases that could affect areas beyond plant property are possible. A major security event may also result in a general emergency. If you need to take action, sirens will sound, alerting you to tune to local radio or television stations for official information.
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Sheltering In Place

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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:

  • DO NOT pick up children at schools, preschools, or registered day care centers; emergency plans include special precautions for children in these facilities.
  • Tune to an official emergency alert radio station (600 AM or 96.5 FM), monitor the situation and prepare to follow additional directions from local officials.
  • If you have questions about how to prepare or what to do, call United Way 2-1-1 or 1-866-469-2211 or from a cell phone 319-739-4211.
  • Limit non-emergency phone calls. If you must use a mobile device, texting is preferred. This will help keep phone lines open.

If indoors:

  • Remain there until further notice.
  • Shut all windows and doors.
  • Turn off all ventilation (furnaces, fireplaces and air conditioners).
  • Cover open food containers.

If outdoors:

  • Go indoors immediately and follow the “if indoors” instructions.
  • Wash hands and face before eating and handling food.
  • Take a lukewarm shower, if possible.

If you are in your car, at work, or away from home:

  • Close car windows, vents, and shut off heating and cooling systems.
  • Turn your radio on to monitor the situation and follow directions.
  • If you are not home and your home is in an area being told to shelter in place, DO NOT try to go home. Leave the affected subarea(s) or enter a nearby building.
  • Stay where you are, monitor the situation and await further instructions.
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Evacuation Information

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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:

  • Evacuation may last for a few days. Plan for up to a three-day absence. Secure your home. Lock doors and windows.
  • If you have questions about how to prepare or what to do, call United Way 2-1-1 or 1-866-469-2211 or from a cell phone 319-739-4211.
  • Pack necessities, including medical items, personal items, bedding, extra clothing, identification, important papers and baby supplies.
  • If directed by authorities, pick up relatives in nursing homes or hospitals.
  • Residents with children in schools in an affected subarea will be able to pick up children at designated temporary relocation centers.
  • Make arrangements for your pets to be housed outside of the emergency planning zone. Public reception centers do not have places for pets. All service animals will be received.
  • Drive safely. Use recommended evacuation routes.
  • Stay tuned to radio 600 AM or 96.5 FM for current information.
  • Keep windows and vents closed when driving in subareas that are being evacuated.
  • Law enforcement agencies will provide traffic control and will maintain security in evacuated areas.
  • Follow directions provided by local authorities to reach your designated reception center.
  • State and local officials will determine when it is safe for you and your family to return. You will be informed by an emergency alert message or relocation center manager.

Emergency reception center information

  • Reception centers are opened to monitor evacuees for radiological contamination. After checking in at the reception center, short-term housing and food is available.
  • Please go to the reception center for monitoring and registration even if you and your family do not need housing.


  • If possible, use your own vehicle and head to your designated reception center.
  • If you need transportation assistance and you are in an area served by a Cedar Rapids bus line, go to the nearest bus stop and wait for the next bus. Free transportation to a reception center will be provided.
  • If you live in Linn County, but are not in an area served by a Cedar Rapids bus line, call the Linn County Emergency Management Agency at 319-892-6500 for help.
  • If you live in Benton County, call the Benton County Emergency Management Agency at 319-472-4519 for help.
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Farm Information

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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.

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Health Conditions

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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:

  • Call United Way 2-1-1 by dialing 2-1-1 or 1-866-469-2211. Trained staff will register you over the telephone. If you are having trouble reaching the service, dial (319) 739-4211.
  • Contact your local emergency management agency office and request a registration form.
  • Talk with your local health and human service provider. They can help you 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:

  • Linn County call (319) 892-6500.
  • Benton County call (319) 472-4519.

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:

  • Linn County Emergency Management Agency at (319) 892-6586.
  • Linn County Sherriff at (319) 398-4016.
  • Benton County Sherriff at (319) 472-2337.

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.

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Understanding Nuclear Energy and Radiation

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Benefits of NextEra Energy Duane Arnold

  • Produces no greenhouse gases or emissions.
  • Produces clean, reliable and affordable electricity.
  • Provides hundreds of high-quality jobs for local residents.
  • Is a leader in environmental stewardship in the region.
  • Is an economic engine for the entire state.

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)radiation-sources.jpg