NRC returns Fort Calhoun to normal oversight program

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said March 30 that it is returning the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) to NRC’s normal oversight program.

Fort Calhoun is located 19 miles north of Omaha, Neb. It is a pressurized water reactor (PWR) with a generating capacity of roughly 500 MW.

The NRC increased its oversight following a 2011 refueling outage that was extended due to record flooding, an electrical fire and significant performance issues. Since December 2011, the agency has conducted approximately 60,000 hours of inspection, assessment and licensing activities. The plant restarted Dec. 18, 2013, after a shutdown of 32 months.

“Fort Calhoun Station has operated safely since plant restart,” said Region IV Administrator Marc Dapas. “In addition, OPPD has made significant improvements to its corrective action program, continues to implement its long-term improvement plan and has effectively addressed the performance deficiencies that resulted in NRC’s increased oversight.”

Currently, the NRC has reviewed and closed seven of the ten improvement areas in the post-restart Confirmatory Action Letter in which OPPD committed to correct past deficiencies and ensure there is sustained improved performance going forward. The remaining open items include long-term actions such as performing a design basis reconstitution.

Although the plant will be returned to the normal oversight process, NRC staff will continue to perform follow-up inspections to verify that all CAL commitments continue to be met. Fort Calhoun is returning to normal oversight as it currently has no significant safety or security issues.

A public meeting will be held in Omaha on April 9 between the NRC and OPPD to discuss Fort Calhoun’s efforts to improve performance. The meeting will be at the Thompson Center, 6705 Dodge St., from 6-9 p.m. NRC staff will be available to answer questions from members of the public following that meeting.

NRC officially notified OPPD of the change in a March 30 letter. The OPPD board is scheduled to meet on April 16.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.