The Omaha Public Power District board of directors will consider closing the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Station next month. The president and CEO of Nebraska Public Power District Pat Pope says that is not going to happen to the Cooper Nuclear Station near Brownville.
Pope says, “It is a tremendous carbon free resource for us. In 2015, NPPD’s resources were 46% carbon free. Cooper accounted for 34% of that. To be honest with you going forward if the world is truly interested in decarbonizing the electric sector we have to look at nuclear power because some of the other options just aren’t going to do it.”
Pope says we need fuel diversity. He says there is a big push now to use natural gas. Back in 1978 the government banned utilities from using natural gas to generate power. Pope says this shows how the power environment can rapidly change. Pope says, “Yes, we have a lot of gas now. We have low prices but we never know exactly what is going to happen in the future. Having nuclear power in the mix, some natural gas, having renewables, having coal having hydro – that always allows you to ride through.”
Pope says the reliability of nuclear power is huge. In 2015, Cooper generated 98.7% of its maximum capability. He says it is there when you need it whether it is sun is shining, if it is raining or snow, it is there.
The Cooper Nuclear Station was built in 1974 and will remain in service until at least 2034.