Nuclear plant in Fort Calhoun to close in Dec.

Posted at 6:28 PM, Jun 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-16 22:39:29-04
Emotional debate could not stop an unanimous decision.
The Omaha Public Power District board voted to take the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant off line.
Thursday morning's vote to close the nuclear plant is not good news for the plant's 700 workers.
Closing the plant will save the utility hundreds of millions of dollars, OPPD said.
There are mixed feelings about the decision. 
While 700 jobs are in jeopardy, the utility company could save between $735 million and $994 million in 20 years.
OPPD President and CEO Tim Burke says it’s one of the toughest decisions of his career.
"We care for each other,” Burke said. “We honor our community and we have a passion to serve. I commit to you from this organization to live those values as we move  forward."
The decision to close Fort Calhoun is not fair to the employees who have gone through insurmountable odds to keep the plant running, a plant worker said before the board.
"I will ask whoever speaks today to keep in mind that it's a rough day for 700 of my friends and their families. Please show them some class. Many employees are watching this at work and families are watching this online. They don't deserve to be mocked while you congratulate yourselves or claim some sort of victory.”
While nuclear is considered clean energy, a local activist says closing Fort Calhoun is a victory for the environment, if it's closed properly.
"The reason that's important is the federal government is not going to take your waste. The federal government does not want a centralized depository, because that becomes a target for radicals and terrorists and criminals and such." 
Board members say the decision to close the plant has nothing to do with the quality of its operations or workers.
OPPD says it does not expect a general rate increase for the next five years.
Many customers could get rate decreases as the plant’s closure saves money.