Flood threat to nuclear power plant proves costly to OPPD

The Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) spent $26 million in June in flood protection costs and to replace electricity that would have been generated by the 500 MW Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

The Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) has spent about $1 million, the newspaper reported.

The costs are expected to grow as the summer continues. OPPD said it would seek a waiver from Federal Emergency Management Agency restrictions that prohibit the federal government from paying to replace electricity that would have been generated by facilities such as Ft. Calhoun. OPPD also cut or delayed $9 million in expenses this year to help offset the costs.

Replacement power contracts OPPD has in place for July average about $38 per megawatt hour, about 12 percent more than generation costs at Ft. Calhoun. So far, OPPD has paid $6.1 million in replacement power, the article said.

For July, OPPD has contracts for 300 MW of outside power. About one-third of that is reportedly coming from NPPD and the Western Area Power Administration.

OPPD is also dealing with flooding at its seven coal-fired power plants, including the 1,300 MW Nebraska City coal-fired power plant. There, the utility must elevate 1.5 miles of rail line submerged by water, which could cost up to $2.6 million. The utility already elevated two othersections of track at the Nebraska City and Omaha coal-fired power plants, the article said.

Out of the $1 million that NPPD has spent, almost $900,000 has gone toward protecting the 830 MW Cooper Nuclear Station, the only plant the company has on the Missouri River.

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