Donald C. Cook Nuclear Generating Station

Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant

Plant as seen from visitors section looking towards Unit 1 and the steam turbine building
Location of Donald C. Cook Nuclear Generating Station within Michigan
Country United States
Location Lake Township, Berrien County, near Bridgman, Michigan
Coordinates 41°58′31″N 86°33′57″W / 41.975391°N 86.565914°W / 41.975391; -86.565914Coordinates: 41°58′31″N 86°33′57″W / 41.975391°N 86.565914°W / 41.975391; -86.565914
Status Operational
Construction cost $3.352 billion (2007 USD)
Owner(s) American Electric Power
Operator(s) Indiana Michigan Power Company
Power generation
Nameplate capacity Unit 1: 1,048 MW
Unit 2: 1,107 MW
Cook Nuclear Plant

Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant is a nuclear power plant located just north of the city of Bridgman, Michigan which is part of Berrien County, on a 650-acre (260 ha) site 11 miles south of St. Joseph, Michigan, USA. The plant is owned by American Electric Power (AEP) and operated by Indiana Michigan Power, an AEP subsidiary. It has two nuclear reactors and is currently the company's only nuclear power plant.

The construction cost of the power plant was $3.352 billion (2007 USD).[1] The plant produces 2.2 GW of electricity, enough to meet the needs of a city with 1.25 million people.

The plant is connected to the power grid via one 765 kV line that goes from the plant to AEP's DuMont substation near Lakeville, Indiana and by numerous 345 kV lines, two of which interconnect with Consumers Energy/METC, connecting with the Palisades Nuclear Generating Station, owned by Entergy.

License expiration and renewal

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission renewed the operating licenses of both reactors on August 30, 2005. With the renewal, Unit One's operating license will expire in 2034 while Unit Two's will expire in 2037.[2] The units were initially licensed for forty years from their operational date.

Surrounding population

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission defines two emergency planning zones around nuclear power plants: a plume exposure pathway zone with a radius of 10 miles (16 km), concerned primarily with exposure to, and inhalation of, airborne radioactive contamination, and an ingestion pathway zone of about 50 miles (80 km), concerned primarily with ingestion of food and liquid contaminated by radioactivity.[3]

The 2010 U.S. population within 10 miles (16 km) of D.C. Cook was 54,638, an increase of 3.4 percent in a decade, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data for The 2010 U.S. population within 50 miles (80 km) was 1,225,096, an increase of 2.8 percent since 2000. Cities within 50 miles include South Bend, IN (26 miles to city center), Michigan City, IN, St. Joseph, MI, and Kalamazoo, MI.[4]

Visitors center

The plant has a visitors center that was open to the public six days a week on a drop in basis. Since the attacks of September 11, however, the plant is open only to school groups by reservation. The visitors center features a 26-foot (7.9 m) animated model demonstrating how the plant operates.


The plant is operated by the Indiana Michigan Power Company and owned by American Electric Power.


Seismic risk

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's estimate of the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at D.C. Cook was 1 in 83,333, according to an NRC study published in August 2010.[15][16]

Additional information

 Unit 1Unit 2
Reactor Type Pressurized Water Pressurized Water
Reactor Manufacturer Westinghouse Westinghouse
Turbine Manufacturer General Electric Brown Boveri
Generation Capacity 1,020 megawatts 1,090 megawatts
Transmission System Connection 345,000 volts 765,000 volts
Construction Began March 1, 1969 March 1, 1969
Grid connection February 10, 1975 March 22, 1978
Operational Date August 27, 1975 July 1, 1978
Expiration of Original License October 25, 2014 December 23, 2017
Expiration of Renewed License 2034 2037


  1. "State Nuclear Profiles - Energy Information Administration".
  2. "AEP - News Releases - AEP's Cook Nuclear Plant operating licenses extended 20 years by NRC".
  3. NRC: Backgrounder on Emergency Preparedness at Nuclear Power Plants
  4. Bill Dedman, Nuclear neighbors: Population rises near US reactors,, April 14, 2011 Accessed May 1, 2011.
  5. "NRC: Information Notice No. 85-87: Hazards of Inerting Atmospheres".
  6. NRC doc: Tran-M119830: Briefing on D.C. Cook Nuclear Power Plant Public Meeting, November 30, 1998
  7. Dave Lochbaum (23 August 2016). "UCS Causes Meltdowns at US Nuclear Reactors (no, really)". Union of Concerned Scientists. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  10. "AEP - News Releases - Transformer fire takes AEP's Cook Nuclear Plant Unit 1 off-line; site emergency plan briefly activated at lowest level".
  12. "Cook 1 restart September at the earliest".
  13. staff, 24 Hour News 8 web (25 September 2015). "ArtPrize Adventures: Heartside pub art crawl".
  15. Bill Dedman, "What are the odds? US nuke plants ranked by quake risk,", March 17, 2011 Accessed April 19, 2011.

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