NE Nuke Fires Back Up

Thursday, June 18, 2015 @ 03:06 PM gHale

The beleaguered Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant in Nebraska is back online after shutting down for several weeks for refueling and maintenance.

The Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) said the nuclear plant about 20 miles north of Omaha reached full power Monday. It had been offline since April 11 for the planned outage.

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More than 1,300 people worked at Fort Calhoun during the outage to complete several thousand maintenance tasks.

One of the biggest tasks was replacing the stand that holds the reactor vessel head during an outage to meet tougher safety standards.

The nuclear plant typically goes offline for refueling about every 18 months. Its next outage for refueling and maintenance is on tap for the fall of 2016.

The utility has more than 360,000 customers in 13 counties in southeast Nebraska.

Fort Calhoun started back up in December 2013 after being offline since April 2011, when it went down for scheduled refueling. It was in a cold shutdown as floods overtopped the banks of the Missouri River, then placed under federal control after an electrical fire broke out and officials found a number of safety violations.

Since then, OPPD has spent $177 million on recommissioning the plant. That work entailed clearing a 450-item checklist of corrective items issued by the NRC.