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Nebraska group questions firm running nuke plant

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 4, 2013 at 5:09 pm •  Published: February 4, 2013

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska environmental group on Monday questioned the track record of the company hired to run the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant because of concerns raised by federal regulators.

The Clean Nebraska group said it was troubled by the questions the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had raised about some of the calculations Exelon made for its other nuclear plants. The NRC said last week it was looking into whether Chicago-based Exelon intentionally understated the cost of decommissioning 23 of its nuclear reactors.

Exelon spokesman David Tillman said the company denies intentionally providing incorrect data and "disputes the findings." Tillman said the calculations are complicated and Exelon looks forward to meeting with the NRC to discuss the issue.

The Omaha Public Power District signed a 20-year contract with Exelon last year because of its experience and safe track record operating 17 nuclear reactors at 10 different power plants. Fort Calhoun has been idle since 2011.

Clean Nebraska spokesman Mike Ryan, who has called for Fort Calhoun to be permanently shut down, said it's troubling to see these questions raised about the company that was hired to rehabilitate Fort Calhoun.

"It appears that they've been less than honest with the NRC," Ryan said. "It just kind of makes us concerned about what's going on at Fort Calhoun."

The power plant that sits about 20 miles north of Omaha initially shut down for refueling maintenance in April 2011. But flooding along the Missouri River throughout the summer of 2011 and a series of safety violations forced it to stay closed.

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