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Rockport & Cook Plant


In order to provide you safe, reliable, low-cost energy when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, we secure energy from a diversity of energy generation facilities.

Our coal-powered Rockport plant has two units. Each are capable of generating up to 1,300 megawatts of energy – enough to power more than one million homes – at a low cost, which helps keep our rates below state and national averages.

“Indiana runs on coal. Let’s apply technology and innovation to find new ways to unleash this abundant source of power by burning coal cleanly while keeping Hoosiers employed and factories humming.” Gov. Eric Holcomb, State of the State Address, Jan. 17, 2017

Here are answers to questions about Rockport:

Replacing the Rockport’s plant’s 2,600 megawatts of energy with renewables is simply not feasible because access to wind and solar is impacted by seasonal weather patterns.

Rockport is one of our two plants that are able to generate 24/7/365 to make sure we can meet all of our customers’ needs at peak demand – known as the “base-load.” Along with the Cook Nuclear Plant in Bridgman, Mich., Rockport is needed to make sure all demand is met, especially when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.

The Rockport Plant features a number of high-tech solutions that ensure it meets all federal laws governing emissions. Those laws are designed to protect the environment and people, with a margin of safety.

Our emission-fighting technology at Rockport has reduced emissions significantly. From 2005 to 2015:

  • Mercury emissions are down 90 percent.
  • Sulfur dioxide has dropped 55 percent.
  • Nitrogen oxides are reduced by 34 percent.

In recent years, we have added dry-sorbent injection technology to reduce the emissions of sulfur dioxide. We are currently installing selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology on Unit 1 – using the same principles of your car’s catalytic converter – to further reduce nitrogen oxides.

We have asked the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to determine that adding the SCR technology to Unit 2 is reasonable and necessary, just as it was for Unit 1.

The Sierra Club opposes our proposal to add emission-fighting technology even though doing so will help the environment. To further confuse the issue, the Sierra Club previously agreed in a modified consent decree involving the EPA, our parent company and a number of states and organizations that we must add the SCR technology.

An extensive analysis of alternatives conducted for our 2015 Integrated Resource Plan shows that the lowest-cost plan for customers is to keep both Rockport units open until 2035. In our long-term plan, we propose keeping both plants open – but spending some additional money on more wind and solar resources. Of course, we continually evaluate our long-term plan, and we remain flexible to alter plans as circumstances change to best serve our customers.

The actual effect on rates is expected to be about 2%.

The Rockport Plant, built in the 1980s, is one of the youngest and most technologically-advanced coal-fueled plants in Indiana. To put its age in perspective, our Tanners Creek plant operated from 1951 to 2015.

Our Rockport plant is one of the top employers in Spencer County, responsible for creating 250 jobs. Additionally, more than 400 contractors are on the site building the SCR for Unit 1. Our employees spend money in the community and support other businesses. The plant pays more than $5 million a year in property taxes alone. We provide rent-free space to several local non-profits and donate funds and in-kind contributions to other local non-profits. Our plant is the main supporter of the Cliff Hagan Boys and Girls Club. Our plant and employees contributed $40,000 to the local United Way for 2017.

We produce energy using sunlight wind, running water, nuclear power and coal. This diverse energy mix provides flexibility for us to adapt our operations to ensure reliable, and affordable service to you.

Cook Nuclear Plant

The Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant, located on the Lake Michigan shoreline, generates more than 2,000 megawatts of electricity to serve the needs of our communities. The plant was named for the late Donald C. Cook, a Michigan native, and former chairman of the board of American Electric Power.

Statement of Cook Excellence

Cook Nuclear Plant meets all criteria established in the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission reactor oversight process (ROP). Moreover, our plant strives to exceed ROP requirements and set new standards of excellence in the U.S. and international nuclear industries. To us, excellence means high levels of plant reliability, fuel reliability, safety system performance, and long term asset protection. It also includes minimizing radiation exposure and strong industrial safety measures for our employees and contractors.

Cook Nuclear Plant Safety

  • The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requires all nuclear plants to withstand the most severe natural phenomena historically reported for each plant’s geographic area out to 200 miles.
  • Cook is located more than 400 miles from the nearest fault line and is engineered to withstand an earthquake with a magnitude of between 5 and 6.4 on the Richter scale at the plant site, which translates into larger earthquakes as measured at the epicenter.
  • Our plant is designed to safely shut down in a flood or seiche reaching 11 feet. A seicheis a large tsunami-like wave on an enclosed body of water. To date, the largest seiche on record in the vicinity of Cook Plant is eight feet.
  • We perform in-depth seismic analyses in accordance with NRC regulations.
  • Our plant is designed to safely shutdown despite the effects of a tornado with a forward progression of 60 mph containing 300 mph winds coincident with an atmospheric pressure drop of 3.0 psi applied within 3 seconds.
  • The plant’s emergency core cooling systems are protected from water incursion, including watertight doors, elevation of equipment above potential flood levels and/or special engineered flood barriers.
  • Each of the two Cook reactors has two locomotive-sized emergency backup diesel generators that start automatically if offsite power is lost. Only one is required to safely shut down and cool each reactor. These are located in seismically secure rooms 9 feet above mean lake level. There is also a supplemental diesel generator that could serve either unit that is located 23 feet above mean lake level.
  • Main fuel tanks for emergency diesels are buried underground or enclosed in buildings to prevent impact from severe environments. They cannot float away.
  • Electrical switchgear for emergency operations at the plants is protected from floods by elevating them above potential flood levels or protecting them behind watertight doors.
  • Plant foundations, structures and equipment are designed to withstand severe ground motion and flooding.
  • Cook Nuclear Plant has systems and strategies that minimize hydrogen buildup in the containment building, which was likely the source of explosions at Fukushima Units 1 & 3.
  • In an off-site power loss, safe shutdown is ensured through multiple redundant systems specifically designed to maintain electric power when electricity is lost from the grid off site.
  • If a used fuel pool were to lose water – even in significant quantities – the Cook Nuclear Plant has the capability to provide water from high-capacity pumps to ensure the pools remain filled. The water supply can be from either public water systems or Lake Michigan.
  • All U.S. nuclear plants have “Severe Accident Mitigation Guidelines.” The guidelines prescribe actions beyond normal emergency operating procedures and address severe challenges to the reactor core of the kind seen in Japan.
  • These systems are constantly tested, challenged or simulated to ensure proper operation when needed.
  • These drills are managed and overseen by the NRC with collaboration from plant operators and other federal and local emergency agencies, including FEMA. Cook successfully completed one such drill in March of 2011.
  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has established an agency task force that will conduct both short- and long-term analysis of the lessons that can be learned from the situation in Japan. The results of their work will be made public.
  • The U.S. nuclear energy industry has already started an assessment of the events in Japan and is taking steps to ensure that U.S. reactors could respond to events that may challenge safe operation of the facilities.

For more information, contact the Cook Energy Information Center, 800.584.2555 or cookinfo@aep.com.

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