Fort Calhoun – A Mixed Report Card

Lara Uselding
Public Affairs Officer, Region IV

nebraskaNRC inspectors held a public meeting in Omaha, Neb., on May 17, to share preliminary information from a recent restart readiness inspection at the Fort Calhoun Station, operated by the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD). The plant entered into the NRC’s increased oversight category in 2011 after it shut down for a refueling outage. The outage was extended due to historic Missouri River flooding followed by an electrical fire and other restart complications.

The meeting is one in a series we’re holding to keep the public informed. The 15-member team of inspectors looked at 169 out of more than 450 items that need to be resolved prior to the NRC making a decision on restart. The team recommended closing three of the 18 main categories known as the restart checklist. The three areas the team believes OPPD has appropriately addressed are third-party safety culture assessment, quality assurance, and integrated organizational effectiveness.

In essence, the plant’s officials have made improvements on some of the causes that led to the performance decline.

It’s important to note that as the team prepared for the inspection and began its review of the 169 items, they identified that 66 of those items were not fully ready for inspection as plant management stated. That means NRC inspectors were only able to fully inspect 60 percent of the original scope and will go back for a follow-up inspection.

While OPPD has made progress, there is still a lot of work to be done. The team found the plant hadn’t done a good job of evaluating whether a discovered condition exists in other areas of the plant and then implementing actions to address it. Because of this, the NRC has determined a number of restart checklist items are not ready for closure. In addition, NRC inspectors identified new performance deficiencies. Those preliminary findings still need to be evaluated by NRC management and results will be documented in the team’s inspection report. The report will be issued within 45 days.

The NRC will conduct follow-up inspections to look at the remaining open performance areas and to determine if plant personnel, equipment, and processes are ready to support the safe restart and continued safe operation. There will be additional public meetings in the local area before any decision about restart.

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