The management of Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) has recommended that the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant be shut down. OPPD President and Chief Executive Officer Tim Burke told the company’s board of directors at its monthly meeting that the utility’s senior management is recommending that the 479-megawatt plant cease operations by the end of 2016 and begin decommissioning.
“The economic analysis clearly shows that continued operation of Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station is not financially sustainable,” Burke told the board. “The analysis considered market conditions, economies of scale and the proposed Clean Power Plan.”
Closing the plant would mean lower overhead costs when it comes to complying with federal nuclear regulations and other expenses, including the $20 million a year OPPD pays Exelon to run the plant.
Shutting the plant permanently would move the utility away from relatively expensive-to-generate nuclear energy in an era of low-priced natural gas and an increasing reliance on wind power.
The plant has nearly 700 employees, about 150 who live in the immediate area. If the recommendation is approved, senior management acknowledged in the news release that it will have far-reaching effects for OPPD employees, their families, long-term contractors and the communities surrounding the plant.
The board will take 30 days to consider management’s proposal, during which time it will field concerns and suggestions from stakeholders and ratepayers. They are expected to vote on its June 16th meeting.