Donald C. Cook Station

The Donald C. Cook Nuclear Generating Station is owned by American Electric Power. The nuclear power plant is situated just a short distance north of Bridgman, Michigan, and operated by Indiana Michigan Power under the ownership of AEP. The plant is on a 650-acre site that features the central plant and a number of related buildings. It hosts two nuclear reactors, and is the AEP’s only nuclear power station.  The plant has a power output capacity large enough to supply constant electricity to 1.25 million people. The original cost of the plant’s construction was something of $1.3 billion, a moderately expensive project in comparison to other nuclear plants nationwide.

A 765KVA line connects the Donald C. Cook Nuclear Generating Station to the rest of the power grid, which links up to the DuMont substation, also owned by the AEP. In addition to the substation connection, the plant also links up with 345KVA lines in interconnection with Entergy’s Palisades Nuclear Generating Station via Consumers Energy/METC.  The plant is licensed by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The active operating licenses for both of the plant’s reactors were renewed on August 30, 2005. Reactor One’s license is slated to expire in 2034, while Reactor Two’s active operating license will expire in the year 2037. At their inception, the reactors were licensed for a 40 year period.

Unit 1 has the generation capacity of 1,020 megawatts, and Unit 2 can produce 1,090 megawatts. Both reactors were Westinghouse pressurized water reactors with a transmission system connection of 345,000 volts and 765,000 volts for units one and two respectively. Construction of both units began simultaneously on March 1, 1969, with a grid connection of February 10, 1975 for Unit One and March 22, 1978 for Unit 2.

The plant has experienced a number of accidents, none of which resulted in any loss of life or injury. In 2003, a transformer initiated the automatic shutdown of Unit 1. In April of the same year, the interference of a considerable number of fish forced both units into blackout mode for 25 hours. More recently in September 2008, a fire broke out abruptly in the Unit 1 generator. The Unit 1 reactor was shut down and no harmful emissions were released. While the shut down occurred, Unit 2 continued to process at full operational capacity.

Despite the fact that no one was killed in these incidents, Cook Station may have been harmful in other ways.  Many nuclear plants that were built in the 1960s and 1970s made heavy use of asbestos in their insulating materials.  While the asbestos was effective for this purpose, it was also extremely hazardous to the health of the employees.