Ft. Calhoun Nuke Eyes June Restart

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 @ 06:05 PM gHale


The utility that owns the troubled Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant in eastern Nebraska hopes to have the plant ready to operate by the end of June.

However, that may end up being wishful thinking as federal regulators said the plant has a long way to go before it ends up restarting.

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The plant that sits on the Missouri River north of Omaha has remained shut down since April 2011. It initially went offline for routine maintenance, but flooding along the Missouri River and a series of safety violations forced it to stay closed.

Last month Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) officials had said they expected to have the plant ready by late May. This past Friday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said the plant had met only eight of 25 major performance issues studied during the inspections.

Lou Cortopassi, the plant’s vice president and chief nuclear officer, said in March his team is working to show the NRC there’s been significant progress to correct the long list of safety concerns that has kept the plant shut down for nearly two years.

At a public meeting with the NRC, OPPD said it wants to get fuel loaded in the reactor by mid-April, heat up the reactor by mid-May and be back online by late May, Cortopassi said. Now they are looking at June.

That plan will depend on the approval of the NRC, which has been conducting a series of on-site inspections since earlier this year.

OPPD is working through a checklist of more than 450 items, which has proved to take longer than officials initially expected.

The district unveiled a handful of target restart dates over the last year and a half. When officials drew up this year’s budget, they based it on a restart date of Feb. 1.



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