Delays in Nebraska Nuclear Plant

Brian Hicks

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted November 19, 2012

Nebraska’s Fort Calhoun nuclear reactor, built to 482-MW capacity, won’t resume operations until the first quarter of 2013 after the Omaha Public Power District decided that more maintenance work is needed.

Originally, Omaha Public had hoped to restart the reactor in September. That got delayed to December, and now more work is necessary to improve containment maintenance.

The plant was closed after a Missouri River flooding extended what was originally supposed to be a routine refueling shutdown in 2011.

Bloomberg reports:

“We’ve gotten the restart checklist and we’re looking to be able to heat up the plant in the first quarter of next year,” [Omaha Public spokesman Jeff] Hanson, who’s based in Omaha, said by phone today. “Our goal had been December if there weren’t additional areas that needed work. We have areas that need work around the containment.”

A confirmation action letter dated November 13 indicated that Fort Calhoun needed work on improving flood barriers, emergency diesel generator systems, and general maintenance on the containment structure.

In August, Exelon Corp. (NYSE: EXC) was hired to oversee daily operations on the Omaha plant, which is one of three nationwide that remains closed due to maintenance issues.

Duke Energy’s (NYSE: DUK) 838-MW Crystal River 3 plant in Florida has been down since October 2009 over cracks in the containment structure wall, and Edison International’s (NYSE: EIX) 2,150-MW two-unit reactor in San Onofre has been down since January. Tubes carrying radioactive water were found to have abnormal levels of wear.

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