The Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) Fort Calhoun nuclear plant is returning to service Jan. 13 after being briefly offline due to a weather-related problem in Nebraska.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) listed Fort Calhoun at 6% generating output early Monday, Jan. 13. The nuclear unit, which had only recently been returned to service following a long-running outage, went offline Jan. 9 due to sub-freezing temperatures, according to OPPD.
The severe winter cold had caused an ice build-up on one of six sluice gates in the plant’s Missouri River water-intake structure, OPPD said in a Jan. 9 statement. The ice build-up was enough to keep the gate from fully closing. All of the gates must be able to close in case of flooding, so this meant the plant had to shut down, even though no flooding is predicted. At no time was the public in any danger, OPPD said.
Thanks to the warming weather, Blair. Neb., where the plant is located is expected to see a high temperature of 44 degrees F on Monday, Jan. 13.
Fort Calhoun, a 478-MW pressurized water reactor (PWR), had returned to operation in late December after being offline since 2011. After shutting down for a regularly-scheduled refueling outage in April 2011, the outage became long-term a few weeks later following flooding along the Missouri River.
Other problems turned up at Fort Calhoun in 2011 and 2012. In early 2012, OPPD hired Exelon (NYSE:EXC), the nation’s largest nuclear operator, to help it with the plant.
The NRC only cleared the plant for restart about a month ago.