NEI reacts to potential Fort Calhoun retirement

A Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) spokesperson said May 13 that the organization is sad to hear that Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) might close the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant at the end of the year, and urged policymakers to consider ways to keep power reactors online.

OPPD management has recommended that the 478-MW Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant in Nebraska close at the end of the year. Management said that the future economics of the power reactor, one of the smallest in North America, don’t look promising.

The OPPD board is expected to vote on the recommendation June 16. The plant is licensed to run until 2033 and has a staff of 694.

“Judgments about the viability of any given nuclear power plant are business decisions made by individual utilities based on economic circumstances unique to the facility,” said NEI spokesperson Steve Kerekes. “This announcement reflects the fact, as we are seeing with older coal-fired power plants, that several nuclear power plants are vulnerable to weak market conditions, particularly smaller facilities in unregulated markets.”

“It is incumbent upon our nation’s political leaders in Washington and state capitols to put together the policy pieces that appropriately value all attributes of electricity generation and preserve nuclear energy facilities in a diversified electricity portfolio,” Kerekes went on to say. “There is an urgent need to develop policies that will prevent additional, premature nuclear plant retirements, because the economic and environmental consequences are enormously negative,” he added.

Exelon (NYSE:EXC) also said this month that it tentatively plans to retire the financially-struggling Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear plants in Illinois on June 1, 2017 and June 1, 2018, respectively, without passage of adequate state legislation in the current spring session.

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.