Closure recommended for Nebraska nuclear plant

13 May 2016

Senior management at Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) have recommended that the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant in Nebraska should close at the end of 2016 for economic reasons.

Fort Calhoun at night 460 (OPPD)
Fort Calhoun (Image: OPPD)

CEO Tim Burke made the recommendation to the company's board of directors yesterday. This was based on a review of OPPD's resource planning which considered market conditions, economies of scale and the Clean Power Plan (CPP) proposed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce carbon emissions from power plants.

"The economic analysis clearly shows that continued operation of Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station is not financially sustainable," Burke said.

Fort Calhoun is a single-unit 478 MWe (net) pressurized water reactor and is the smallest operating nuclear unit in the USA in terms of its accredited capacity. "Larger and multi-unit plants can spread many costs across more megawatts produced", the company said. In commercial operation since September 1973 and currently licensed to operate until August 2033, the unit underwent extensive operating and safety systems upgrades during an extended outage from 2011-2013.

The plant is owned and licensed to OPPD, a publicly owned utility serving over 356,000 customers in south-eastern Nebraska. It has been operated by Exelon since 2012. Burke said that the recommendation to close the plant was not reflective of the performance of Exelon or of employees.

Closure of Fort Calhoun would leave the state of Nebraska with one operating nuclear power plant, Nebraska Public Power District's Cooper 768 MWe (net) boiling water reactor.

OPPD's board is expected to vote on the Fort Calhoun recommendation on 16 June.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News