Flooding may affect energy costs
June 23rd, 2011
Omaha, NE – With the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant temporarily shut down, and Cooper Nuclear Station near Brownville surrounded by water, concerns are now being raised about how the Missouri flooding might impact energy costs for Nebraskans.
Representatives for Omaha Public Power Districtâ€™s Fort Calhoun station have yet to release a predicted figure, but rising energy costs this summer as a result of the plantâ€™s shutdown are almost inevitable. The plant was shut down in early April for refueling, and has remained that way since. Thatâ€™s deprived OPPD of 30 percent of its generated electricity. Jeff Hanson is the Manager of Public Information at OPPD. He said itâ€™s difficult right now to predict how much energy costs may rise.
“Right now we are looking at possible impacts, a lot of that is going to depend on how much replacement energy we have to buy,” emphasized Hanson. “That is all dependent upon how hot the summer is, how much our customers use, how long this flooding event goes onâ€¦so itâ€™s difficult to do that. Weâ€™re trying to look at that right now and come up with some kind of an estimate on that.”
Meanwhile, Cooper Nuclear Station in Brownville could find itself in a similar situation soon. Mark Becker is the Media Relations Specialist for NPPD. He said the flooding has stayed steady at an elevation of 900 feet in the area around the plant. Should the water rise to 902 feet, the plant would have to consider a temporary shutdown. Currently, Becker stresses that hasnâ€™t been issue.
“Cooper Nuclear Station is operating at 100 percentâ€¦the facility is dry,” said Becker. “There is no water seeping into the plant through any barriers or anything like that. Weâ€™ve not even reached that potential yet.”
Cooper provides Nebraska Public Power District with 25 percent of its energy resources. In the advent of a plant shut down, NPPD would be forced to fall on back-up plants, as well as the energy market. OPPD is already looking at the potential of other power sources to keep up supply, and hopefully keep prices low.