The Omaha Public Power District is a step closer to restarting the troubled Fort Calhoun nuclear plant, which has been idle for more than two years.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Friday that inspectors have cleared a major, three-year-old violation related to the plant's flood preparedness.
It's the fifth item cleared on an 18-item checklist the plant must address before it can be restarted.
In addition, a longer, more detailed checklist of corrective items is now 70 percent complete, and many of the remaining items are in the final stages of review, Steven Reynolds, the NRC's acting regional director, wrote in a letter to Louis Cortopassi, OPPD's chief nuclear officer.
“It's the first time this year such a significant amount of action items have been able to be closed,” NRC spokeswoman Lara Uselding said.
While much is left to be done, she said, “it shows that significant progress has been made.”
The plant, about 20 miles north of Omaha, has been offline since April 2011.
The flood-preparedness problems were detailed in a “yellow” finding issued in October 2010. Yellow is the agency's second-most-serious citation.
OPPD still plans to heat up the plant later this month for additional testing, and its budget assumes the plant will be restarted next year. But district officials no longer are estimating a restart date.
“We are making steady progress,” OPPD spokesman Jeff Hanson said. “We are getting closer all the time.”