Troubled, idle Neb. nuke plant gradually improving

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 8, 2013 at 3:17 pm •  Published: January 8, 2013
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"There's going to be a number of significant modifications that will be needed to support the containment structure," Hay said.

Once all that work is complete, then the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will inspect everything on a checklist of 450 items to make sure Fort Calhoun is ready to operate safely.

NRC officials reiterated Tuesday that there is no timetable for restarting Fort Calhoun.

Mike Ryan, with the Clean Nebraska environmental group, said he hopes Fort Calhoun is a long way away from restarting because of all the lingering safety questions.

"These structural problems seem to be the key issue now," said Ryan, who opposes nuclear power. He said he hopes regulators will consider keeping Fort Calhoun closed.

But OPPD officials remain committed to rehabilitating Fort Calhoun.

"We will restart Fort Calhoun. We understand what needs to be done and we will do so," Gates said. "We will return Fort Calhoun to operational excellence."

OPPD signed a 20-year deal with Exelon Corp. last fall to have the Chicago company run Fort Calhoun on a day-to-day basis. OPPD's officials say Exelon's experience safely operating 17 nuclear reactors at 10 different power plants has been helpful.

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Follow Josh Funk online at www.twitter.com/funkwrite

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Online:

NRC page on Fort Calhoun: http://1.usa.gov/GBq2TF

Omaha Public Power District: http://www.oppd.com