The reactor at Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station should be ready to begin producing power in just around two months, Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) officials said.
Lou Cortopassi, the plant’s vice president and chief nuclear officer, said his team is working to show the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) there’s been significant progress to correct the long list of safety concerns that has kept the plant shut down for nearly two years.
At a public meeting with the NRC, OPPD said it wants to get fuel loaded in the reactor by mid-April, heat up the reactor by mid-May and be back online by late May, Cortopassi said.
That plan will depend on the approval of the NRC, which has been conducting a series of on-site inspections since earlier this year.
OPPD is working through a checklist of more than 450 items, which has proved to take longer than officials initially expected.
The district unveiled a handful of target restart dates over the last year and a half. When officials drew up this year’s budget, they based it on a restart date of Feb. 1.
So far, OPPD said it doesn’t expect to have to make any midyear rate hikes as a result of the delay. Last year’s average rate hikes of 6.9 percent came in part because of the costs of restarting the plant.
Cortopassi said more than 150 items on the restart checklist won approval. He said the NRC may announce an updated number.
“You’re going to see us continue to emphasize behavior change and show the progress,” he said. “We’ll show it by number of activities completed, the number remaining, to show that physical progress in fixing the plant.”