EnergySolutions to decommission Fort Calhoun

30 April 2019

EnergySolutions is to decommission the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant in Nebraska - which was permanently shut down in October 2016 - under a contract signed yesterday with owner Omaha Public Power District (OPPD).

Fort Calhoun (Image: Ammodramus)

No details about the contract - including its value - have been disclosed.

Fort Calhoun entered commercial operation in September 1973 and the unit underwent extensive operating and safety systems upgrades during an extended outage between 2011 and 2013. The 478 MWe (net) pressurised water reactor is owned and licensed to OPPD, but operated by Exelon since 2012. At the time of its closure in October 2016, Fort Calhoun was the smallest operating nuclear unit in the USA in terms of its accredited capacity. Although licensed to operate until 2033, OPPD cited market conditions, including historically low natural gas prices and lower energy consumption, as a major factor behind its decision to close the plant.

OPPD has previously said it will use the Safestor decommissioning option for Fort Calhoun, a deferred dismantling strategy where residual radioactivity is allowed to naturally decay over a period of up to 60 years, after which the plant is dismantled. It will cost an estimated USD1.2 billion to decommission Fort Calhoun.

"We appreciate the confidence OPPD has in EnergySolutions to work with the Fort Calhoun workforce to safely decommission the facility," said Ken Robuck, president and CEO of EnergySolutions.  "We are confident this partnership will have tremendous success in safely decommissioning the facility on budget and schedule."

John Sauger, president and chief nuclear officer of EnergySolutions' decommissioning and decontamination business, said: "Utilities continue to recognise the value of the EnergySolutions Decommissioning Management Model. The only model of its kind, it is backed up by years of continued success at our commercial decommissioning sites."

EnergySolutions provided support for early nuclear power plant decommissioning projects, including those at Fort St. Vrain, Trojan, Connecticut Yankee, Maine Yankee and Yankee Rowe.

EnergySolutions recently completed the decommissioning of the Southwest Experimental Fast Oxide Reactor (SEFOR) in Arkansas. The company said it will also finalise decommissioning projects of the La Crosse plant in Wisconsin and the Zion plant in Illinois later this year.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News