Utility spokeswoman Ann Thielen says floodwaters may reach the Neal Energy Center in Sioux City, but she believes they’ll be able to prevent the water from shutting down the plant.
Thielen says she can’t speculate that the plant would be safe because of all the unknowns, like a potential levy breach, but she says they do have protection built up three feet above the flood stage and feel good about it.
The protection includes what’re called HESCO barriers — large square containers that are filled with sand. Thielen says more of the barriers are protecting the Council Bluffs plant.
She says they don’t feel the floodwater will reach the Walter Scott Energy Center in Council Bluffs as they have protection that is several feet above the projected crest levels.
Thielen says if the plants are surrounded by water, they believe they can still operate with the coal they have stockpiled.
Thielen says they have discussed it and believe they have adequate supplies of coal to run the facilities. The company has shut down electric and natural gas services across the border in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota.
Thielen says they will leave the power on for now in the southwest Iowa town of Hamburg as it is evacuated.
She says they will disconnect the electricity in Hamburg in a couple of days after the town has been evacuated.
Thielen says if the worst case scenario hit and flooding forced them to shut down one of the western Iowa facilities, the company would have enough reserve so the shutdown would not impact other customers.