Thursday night, the future restart of Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station hit another snag when officials from the Omaha Public Power District, the folks who run Fort Calhoun, were ridiculed by several members of the public. These were furious and frustrated folks on hand for an NRC hearing exploring when the plant—which has been shutdown for 10 months—will be allowed to restart.
Brian Kean of Missouri Valley, Iowa, took the reactor’s owner to task for ongoing mistakes — beyond flooding — that have prompted heightened federal oversight.
“Iowa doesn’t benefit from your plant. All we get is your risk,” he said. “Why is it that the nuclear industry feels so entitled to endanger communities? Because, frankly, your performance is abysmal.”
Jeff Clark, a regional NRC official, said the agency convened the panel for three basic reasons:
» Fort Calhoun has been offline for a long time, so typical benchmarks for performance can’t be used to evaluate it. The plant was shut down April 9, when it went offline for routine maintenance.
» The workforce and administration have ongoing difficulties with problem-solving.
» An electrical fire in June posed potentially significant safety problems.
OPPD board member Lloyd Scheve said the public’s skepticism was logical, given what’s happened.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Scheve said.
Board member Anne McGuire concurred.
“I would hope the public would know we are taking it seriously and will do everything we possibly can,” McGuire said.