Fort Calhoun Nuclear Closure Results in $5 Million Penalty

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By Editors of Power Engineering

Though the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Facility shutdown process is proceeding on schedule, the operators of the plant have been hit by a financial penalty.

Omaha Public Power District will have to pay $5 million to break a 20-year power purchase agreement with Exelon Generation, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

However, OPPD avoided a termination fee of up to $20 million, according to the utility’s financial disclosures. The contract between the two companies specified various fees for different termination circumstances, with OPPD’s reaching $5 million.

Records show that OPPD has paid Exelon more than $94 million from September 2012, when the Chicago company stepped in to help bring the nuclear plant back from a nearly three-year outage, through September 2016. That figure does not include the $5 million fee to end the contract.

Had the utility decided to run the plant through the end of its licensing term in 2033, it would have paid $400 million to Exelon.

The 478-MW Fort Calhoun was the smallest nuclear plant in the nation. Market conditions and a lack of carbon avoidance incentives were cited as reasons for Fort Calhoun’s closure.

Closing the plant is estimated to save OPPD between $735 million and $994 million over the next 20 years. 

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