Omaha-area residents interested in learning more about the decommissioning process at the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant can ask questions of federal regulators from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The utility is at the beginning of a 50-year project to clean up the 660-acre site, with its concrete buildings and radioactive waste.
Omaha Public Power District’s nuclear power plant north of Omaha had no significant safety or security problems in 2015. That’s notable, especially considering the problems that plagued the plant from 2011 to 2014, said Max Schneider, the NRC’s senior resident inspector for Fort Calhoun.
A round of 33 layoff notices issued to workers at the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant on Feb. 28 will be the only job cuts at the now-closed power …
The Omaha Public Power District issued a six-month notice to Exelon on Friday that it will terminate its contract with the Chicago-based nuclear power operator early, triggering a $5 million early-exit fee and clearing the way for another nuclear contracting expert to move in.
Closing its lone nuclear plant helped the Omaha Public Power District head off a rate hike that would have resulted in an average bill increas…
Nearly 550 employees remain at the plant, beginning the early stages of decommissioning — that is, cleaning up and tearing down the facility. That means a future in flux for hundreds of people still working at the plant affectionately known as “The Fort.”
As the contracts were written — and signed — the utility would have been on the hook to pay the bonuses even if the board had voted to keep Fort Calhoun churning out power.
Even though a shuttered nuclear plant is no longer producing electricity, it remains highly regulated to maintain safety for employees and nearby communities. When employees start heading for the exits, plant owners risk seeing institutional knowledge leave with them.
That’s a fraction of the $20 million termination fee that the utility faced if it decided to end the agreement without cause, according to OPPD financial disclosures.
Energy output at the 43-year-old plant has been waning since Sept. 29, when a “coasting down” period began. Officials expect Calhoun’s output to be near 77 percent of capacity by 8 a.m. today, when a more aggressive process will begin cutting down capacity by about 10 percent an hour until 1 p.m.
The largest wind project in state history — the 400-megawatt Grande Prairie wind farm — now is mostly online. When it’s fully up and running, OPPD will eventually increase its total renewable generation portfolio to more than 818 megawatts.
According to a preliminary decommissioning timeline OPPD officials presented to federal regulators at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Tuesday, the next round of job cuts at Fort Calhoun will happen in the first quarter of 2017.
The number of affected employees is a “working estimate,” OPPD spokeswoman Jodi Baker said. The utility expects to have a more exact figure as it develops a clearer plan for shutting down the plant. OPPD is working with other nuclear operators and related companies to relocate affected employees.
The layoffs announced Thursday make up the first wave of formal job cuts at the nuclear plant 20 miles north of Omaha since OPPD’s board of directors voted in June to shut it down. Since that vote, about as many people have already left their jobs at the plant or transferred to other departments within OPPD.
The closing will kick into gear the plant’s decommissioning, which includes the removal and transfer of nuclear fuel from the reactor into the spent fuel pool. In all, the decommissioning process could take up to 60 years and will cost OPPD as much as $1.5 billion.
The NPPD nuclear plant’s carbon-free footprint and the generating diversity that it affords the statewide utility’s customer base are chief among the strengths touted by its supporters. Those same arguments — the reliability and emissions-free nature of nuclear power — for decades kept OPPD’s troubled Fort Calhoun in the mix.
The decision comes after the utility over the past decade has sunk nearly $700 million into the plant.
The Omaha Public Power District’s board of directors is poised to accept the recommendation of the utility’s management to permanently close t…
“Decommissioning,” as it’s called, is a task required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the federal overseer of nuclear plants. It requires plant operators to remove or decontaminate materials and equipment that have been exposed to radioactivity.
Of greatest concern are the plant’s nearly 700 workers and their families. Above all, there’s sadness that an institution that has created a way of life around Fort Calhoun over the past half-century could soon be coming to an end.
Omaha Public Power District’s announcement Thursday that it is looking to close its 43-year-old nuclear power plant shocked this town of 900 Thursday, raising concerns about the potential economic fallout.
OPPD President and Chief Executive Tim Burke on Thursday morning is telling the utility’s board of directors it no longer makes financial sense to continue operations at Fort Calhoun, which is the smallest nuclear power plant in the U.S.