In an essential move to reopen the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant, the Omaha Public Power District directors voted to negotiate a 20-year contract with Exelon to hand over control day-to-day operations of the nuclear power plant for the duration of its operating license.
The plant’s reactor has been shut down since April 2011, and been under escalated oversight by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which has prevented operators from restarting the reactor because of concerns over Missouri River flooding and a series of safety violations which have continued over the course of the last few years.
In February, OPPD has hired experts from Exelon Nuclear Partners to help oversee repairs and get Fort Calhoun ready to restart later this year.
OPPD Board members have been reported to have said that it become clear to them that the NRC was interested in outside management of the facility. OPPD also hired Mike Prospero from Exelon, to be the new plant manager at Fort Calhoun. That, and the pending injection of Exelon workers into the staff, should ease OPPD workers into the new Exelon Nuclear Management Model which will be applied.
However, bringing in outside management, doesn’t exude confidence in current staff and management, and no doubt is just going to raise the cost of producing the energy, as there can be no assumption that Exelon will do the job for free.
No one has publically discussed the proposed cost of turning over operations to Exelon, but officials have implied that the long-term savings should outweigh the initial cost. That doesn’t mean that there will not be drastic cuts in operations and activities.
According to OPPD’s website:
“Because Exelon is a publicly traded company, we cannot reveal contract terms due to business confidentiality.
It is too early to say how this might impact future rates. However, OPPD will continue to closely monitor costs and find ways of being more efficient in non-safety related activities.”
Source: The Huffington Post