Fort Calhoun Restart Still Months Away, NRC says

Plagued with problems, Fort Calhoun's restart still looks to be several months away, according to the NRC. Troy Pruett, an NRC official who met with members of the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) Wednesday, said inspections will most likely continue through the summer.

"I've got a summer's worth of inspections to be done," Pruett said. "Those inspections all have to be done prior to the facility restart."

After the checks, the NRC will have to decide whether or not they believe the Nebraska plant is ready to again begin operating.

OPPD Chief Nuclear Officer Dave Bannister said the utility knows there is still a lot of work to be done.

"We clearly understand our need to improve our performance," Bannister said.

After Fort Calhoun shut down last April for routine maintenance, it stayed closed through the summer due to excessive flooding from the Missouri River. There also have been several problems unrelated to the flooding -- such as an electrical fire last June that disabled six of nine safety-related buses in the room and temporarily disabled spent fuel cooling.

More recently, the plant also had issues with its sirens designed to notify nearby residents of a problem. The NRC is still deciding whether the siren problems should be considered a safety issue.

Among the future concerns still facing the plant is the condition of the ground the reactor sits on following months of heavy flooding. It also must regain the trust of surrounding residents.

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