OPPD meets with Washington County residents

Posted at 10:52 PM, May 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-24 23:53:45-04

More than 600 jobs are on the line as the Omaha Public Power District considers closing the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant.

OPPD CEO Tim Burke recommended closing the plant at a meeting earlier this month. Since that announcement most residents in Washington County are outraged by this recommendation.

Burke said this is a business decision and the market is changing so the company has to change too.

On Tuesday, Burke traveled up to Blair to attend the Washington county board meeting and Blair city council to sway public perception and to answer any questions residents may have.

“With the changing market conditions, changing regulatory environment with the clean power plan not including existing nuclear and so all those things kind of came together at a point where we said now is the time for us to make this recommendation to the board,” said Burke.

But many in the audience aren’t convinced this is the right thing to do.

“One of my concerns is does the board have the right information or are they getting good advice,” said former nuclear plant worker Michael Smith.

Smith attended both meetings at the county building and at the Blair city council, he thinks OPPD is rushing to this decision.

“Run one additional cycle and give some time for some of the initiatives that's going on in the industry to fix it,” said Smith.

Burke said the EPA Clean Power Plan was a factor in the recommendation to shut the plant down, that plan is currently under review on whether it’s constitutional

“There's a presidential election coming up in November that could change the dynamics completely-I don't buy that right now as a main driver,” said Smith.

The OPPD board is expected to have a vote on this recommendation at its next board meeting June 16th.

For a complete breakdown of OPPD's recommendation click here: