Days after shutting down the reactor at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station to deal with iced-over equipment, the Omaha Public Power District has restarted it.
The plant recently came out of a cold shutdown that lasted nearly three years. It had been online for only a few weeks when workers spotted ice on one of six floodgates that regulate the amount of Missouri River water being pumped into the plant.
The shaft that raises and lowers the gate was bent, preventing closure, so the plant was shut down as a precaution. There was never any threat of flooding, the district said.
Workers are still trying to figure out why the shaft was bent, OPPD spokesman Jeff Hanson said. But they were able to shut the gate Thursday and then began the process of restarting the plant.
The reactor began producing heat power about 1:30 a.m. Monday. It will begin generating electricity once the turbines start spinning again and the system is synchronized with the power grid, Hanson said. The plant should be back up to full power in a few days.
Although the plant was allowed to restart last month, it remains in a special oversight program administered by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
NRC spokeswoman Lara Uselding said federal inspectors are studying the floodgates and evaluating OPPD's response to the problem. To its credit, she said, the utility promptly identified the problem and safely shut down the plant to fix it.