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Nebraska City News-Press - Nebraska City, NE
  • OPPD plans to "level out" costs of restarting nuclear plant

  • Omaha Public Power District plans to spread the $164 million costs to restart its nuclear power plant at Fort Calhoun over 10 years.

    The utility plans to "heat up" the plant by Dec. 1 this year, which means closing the reactor vessel but no nuclear reaction. The plant has been offline since April of 2011.
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  • Fort Calhoun Station Costs to be spread over Ten Years The OPPD Board of Directors has approved a plan that would allow the District to amortize over a 10-year period the operations and maintenance costs associated with returning Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station to full service. The plan is expected to level out the impact of recovery costs to OPPD customers while ensuring current and future customers share in the costs and benefits of enhanced operations at the plant. Recovery costs include operation and maintenance expenses for the planning, execution and monitoring of restart and recovery activities that began in 2012 until the plant exits Column 4 of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Reactor Oversight Process Action Matrix. Fort Calhoun Station has been offline since April 2011. OPPD has experienced significant, unplanned recovery costs since then to resolve performance and operational concerns identified by the District and federal regulators. Recovery operation and maintenance costs are projected to be $113 million for 2012 and $30 million for 2013, respectively, and 2012 capital is projected at $21million. The expenditures and associated operational enhancements are expected to benefit Fort Calhoun Station during future years by ensuring the plant will continue to operate safely. “The performance and operational benefits of the expenditures extend far beyond restart which is one of the reasons we can amortize these expenses over 10 years,” said Edward Easterlin, OPPD Chief Financial Officer. At its September monthly meeting, the board approved the use of a regulatory accounting treatment to level the impact of the various costs by amortizing them commencing with the station’s return to service. The goal currently is for Fort Calhoun Station to “heat up” the plant by December 1, which means closing the reactor vessel but no nuclear reaction. Meanwhile, the board also approved the appointment of Louis Cortopassi to the position of Chief Nuclear Officer for Fort Calhoun Station in addition to his position as Site Vice President. Mr. Cortopassi has served as Site Vice President since August 27 under the operating services agreement between OPPD and Exelon. The District hired Exelon last month to manage Fort Calhoun Station’s nuclear operations for the duration of the station’s operating license. In other action, the board authorized awarding a contract to CERAM Environmental, Inc. of Overland Park, Kansas, in the amount of $2,745,200 to replace two layers of catalyst at Nebraska City Station Unit 2.

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