- Omaha Public Power District has proposed shutting down Fort Calhoun Station, after a review of plant economics and markets conditions showed the plant is "not financially sustainable."
- At 478 MW, Fort Calhoun is the smallest nuclear plant in the United States and its relatively small size may have played a factor in rising operating costs and the decision to close the plant.
- The company acknowledged the decision would have a "far-reaching impact for OPPD employees," and committed to retaining as many workers as possible, including possibly assisting in retraining.
Reliability in OPPD's service territory will remain strong without the Fort Calhoun facility, and closing it will allow the utility to meet a goal of having rates 20% below the regional average. Utility President and CEO Tim Burke acknowledged the decision was a difficult one, but said that when factoring in market conditions and expenses related to the Clean Power Plan, shutting down the plant made most sense.
"While the recommendation to cease operations at Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station was a difficult one, it was a determination that had to be made in order to fulfill the district's mission and our responsibility to our customer-owners," Burke said in a statement.
The utility will absorb as many employees as possible and Burke said it would consider retraining "where there would be strong potential for success."
OPPD could vote on the proposal as its June 16 meeting. If approved, there would be no rate increases through 2021. The plant could be shut down by the end of this year.
The utility spends about $250 million annually to operate the plant, according to the AP, and gets about a third of its generation from it. Officials say wind now makes more sense as a carbon-free source.
"It's just not viable. It's just not economically viable," board member John Green told the newspaper.