Fort Calhoun: A Status Update

Lara Uselding
Public Affairs Officer, Region IV

fcsThe NRC held a public meeting with Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) on March 27 to discuss the status of the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant. The plant, just north of Omaha, Neb., has been shut 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.

At the March meeting, NRC oversight panel members shared that a 15-member inspection team had been on site conducting a very thorough inspection and independent verification of the plant’s current status.

Based on the results of the team inspection activities, the NRC has found there are a number of potential issues that appear to need licensing actions. The NRC has scheduled a meeting with OPPD officials on April 22 to discuss four changes the licensee made to the plant that may have required prior NRC approval.

The first involves a change made to the plant’s water intake structure, which was discussed in a recently issued report. Secondly, OPPD used a method to evaluate systems, structures and components for seismic conditions that was not part of their licensing basis. Thirdly, they changed the method for analyzing the suitability of piping systems without approval. Lastly, some plant equipment may not be adequately protected from tornado-driven projectiles.

The meeting to discuss these issues is open to the public and details about the meeting can be found here. The public is encouraged to contact the project managers to obtain meeting materials prior to the meeting and to ensure they plan for the appropriate number of bridge lines.

A second meeting also is scheduled between NRC and OPPD on April 22. That meeting, to discuss the ongoing review of flood mitigation activities, is closed to the public due to sensitive security information being discussed.

Author: Moderator

Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

5 thoughts on “Fort Calhoun: A Status Update”

  1. Granting that the plant can be maintained in a safe shutdown mode during flooding, we don’t build power plants to maintain them in a safe shutdown mode. Today, June, 2013, with the plant shut down since April, 2011 – over two years – and with the availability of relatively inexpensive and essentially waste free solar and wind power resources, it seems to me that we should be asking if the costs of renovations of this 40 year old nuclear plant and the risks of additional flooding of the Missouri River suggest that the plant should be de-commissioned.

  2. Cooling water pumps are not submersible. The plant has adequate protection, as demonstrated during the last flood, to keep the plant in a safe shutdown condition during flooding.

    Lara Uselding

  3. The Calhoun accident illustrates something I bet safety planners did not take into consideration.

    Why didn’t the COE have a plan to blow levees if necessary to keep the plant from flooding and melting down? And to keep the SFP from flooding? The COE blew SE Missouri levees to protect downstream towns from flooding. But not to keep the Corn Belt from being DESTROYED?!!!

    The left hand of government did not know what the right hand was doing.

    OR, and here it is, the executive branch did not want to disturb the economy or the public by blowing levees to keep an NPP from flooding. I think the latter was the case, though bureaucracy alone is perfectly capable of destroying a nation.

    And by the way, were the cooling water pumps submersible? Please tell.

  4. Public participation is utmost important and their input during the meeting is crucial.

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