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NextEra Energy looking to turn decommissioned Duane Arnold nuclear plant into solar farm

Duane Arnold

PALO, Iowa (KWWL) -- The decommissioned Duane Arnold nuclear plant north of Palo may soon become the site of a 3,500 acre solar farm.

Owner NextEra Energy has laid out plans to build the 690 megawatt farm by the end of 2023. If given local and state approval, the company says the project create about 300 construction jobs.

The facility, which is Iowa's only nuclear power plant, was supposed to be decommissioned in October 2020, but damage from the derecho forced it to close right away. The decommissioning process will take up to 60 years to complete, which is the standard amount of time for nuclear power plants to do so safely.

The plant had provided power to most of eastern Iowa since 1974, and had about 450 employees form the surrounding areas. NextEra has been working with employees in helping them find new jobs in other power plants in the country, or by providing early retirement packages. It's unclear how many workers the solar farm would employ.

Trevor Oates

Executive Producer

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