Just before 1 p.m. Monday, Omaha Public Power District shut off the Ft. Calhoun Nuclear Power Station for the last time. The plant sits several miles south of Blair and a good number of residents are employed by OPPD. Mayor Jim Realph says the city didn’t need another economic hit. They have had several in the past few years.
Mayor Realph says the closing of the Ft. Calhoun Station will have more of an economic impact then when Dana College closed a few years ago. More than 700 people work at the plant, including contractors and many reside in Blair. Realph says the one thing the city has going for it is the employment picture. There are a number of good job opportunities in Blair and the surrounding area. He is hoping the displaced workers find jobs close by and continue to reside in the city.
Mayor Realph is concerned that restaurants, bars and service businesses will feel the economic impact of the plant closing. All of those facilities were utilized a great deal by the workers and the facility itself.
About 60 employees were given notice in September their last day would be October 31st. OPPD will not have another round of layoffs until after the first of the year. The plant will have activity for quite some time as the decommissioning process could take up to 60 years to complete.