OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ Omaha Public Power District ratepayers could see up to $200 million in savings if the utility’s board adopts a new, more aggressive approach to decommissioning a nuclear station.
The $700 million proposal would deconstruct the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station and remove radioactive materials from the site in as little as a decade, the Omaha World-Herald reported . Utility officials suggested the faster approach as an alternative to the current $900 million approach that would store nuclear material at the site as it decays for up to 60 years before transporting it to another facility.
The board had previously elected the safe storage approach in 2016 in order to give the utility the flexibility, time and financial support needed to complete the job, said Tim Uehling, the senior director of the decommissioning effort.
The accelerated plan is possible because district employees are ahead of schedule with the deconstruction, Uehling said. Workers have spent the past two years building storage for spent nuclear fuel, creating canisters for fuel and other materials, and removing asbestos from the plant.
The new proposal could save ratepayers million in maintenance and security costs at the site, which could then be repurposed into an industrial site as soon as 2028, officials said. Savings from the plan change would be kept in a trust dedicated to the plant decommissioning until the fuel is removed, Uehling said.
The board could consider the proposal at an October meeting.
About 325 people still work at the plant, which employed 700 workers when it was last operational, the district said.