Residents of Thurman, Iowa want answers as to whether their new neighbor will be a nuclear power plant.
MidAmerican Energy is looking at 700 acres of land just outside of town as the site for a proposed nuclear power plant site. For many residents, Friday was the first time they’d heard about it.
“Quite a shock to the people of Thurman,” said John Askew, a sixth-generation family farmer. His land is adjacent to the property that is under consideration. “I'm very pro energy. I think there are better ways to that and putting a nuclear plant amidst one of the most beautiful spots in the country."
Forty of his neighbors attended an invitation-only meeting with MidAmerican energy staff in nearby Sidney. The media wasn't allowed inside.
Craig Glasgow lives to the west of the potential site. “Yes, it bothers me that it's right next door, but if it was 10 miles away and something happened, you're dead anyway."
MidAmerican Energy will be collecting soil samples in the fields. Nothing is final yet, but officials are considering a nuclear or natural gas facility here. “We need to start thinking of alternatives, not only for customer demand, but to replace some coal plants that won't be able to operate because of environmental issues,” said MidAmerican’s Dean Crist.
MidAmerican Energy is also taking soil samples at a site in eastern Iowa. The timetable for a decision is unclear. Even if the company decides to build outside Thurman, it would be another decade before the plant was up and running.
It's been an interesting few years for the community of Thurman. Months of flooding followed by a drought, a tornado and now this.