U.S. NRC Blog

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Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant – A 2013 Update

Lara Uselding
Public Affairs Officer
Region IV
 

fcsAs we turn the page on a new year, the NRC is watching closely as the operators of the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant, located in Omaha, Neb., are working around the clock in hopes of returning the plant to service. It remains to be seen if the NRC is convinced the efforts of the Omaha Public Power District’s (OPPD) are sufficient.

The plant has been powered down since April 9, 2011, for a refueling outage. The outage was extended due to historic flooding along the Missouri River followed by an electrical fire that led to an “Alert” declaration and further restart complications.

On Jan. 8, OPPD officials and the NRC Fort Calhoun Oversight Panel members met before the five-member NRC Commission to discuss the current plant status. Positive change is on the horizon. “They [OPPD] are looking at problems with a different set of eyes today,” said Mike Hay, NRC Branch Chief and panel member. Some NRC Commissioners also noted the efforts by OPPD management to turn things around. It is also clear more work needs to be done.

In November 2012, the NRC issued a detailed inspection plan listing some 450 items that require attention, inspection, and resolution. Many of these items are subsets of the familiar issues that have been reported over the past two years including the breaker fire, flood strategy concerns, containment penetrations, and containment internal structures issues.

In 2013, there will be numerous NRC inspectors carrying out a very rigorous inspection schedule. A five-member team has already been on site for two weeks to independently verify results from a third-party safety culture assessment done last year. As part of the inspection, NRC held focus group interviews with plant works to assess the current climate and help the NRC understand how in tune management is with staff. Later in February, these results will be used to fuel a second, larger team inspection to fully assess human performance and safety culture at Fort Calhoun.

There is more to come. There will be an announcement soon with details for the next public meeting in Nebraska. The staff will continue to post updates and helpful information to the Fort Calhoun specific Web site.

28 responses to “Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant – A 2013 Update

  1. Kathleen April 22, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Will the Missouri river be flooding again this year like in 2011 when Fort Calhoun went under water the public being told at that time “no significant impact”

    • Moderator April 22, 2013 at 4:28 pm

      The plant has flood mitigation measures in place if flooding occurs. The NRC does not control river levels. The plant receives notifications from the US Army Corps of Engineers and would have advance warning of extreme river level changes for which they would then implement their flood protection strategy if warranted.

      Lara Uselding

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