- Associated Press - Friday, May 13, 2016

FORT CALHOUN, Neb. (AP) - Fort Calhoun residents say they’re worried that closing a more than 40-year-old nuclear power plant in the area could result in economic problems for the community.

The president and CEO of the Omaha Public Power District told its board of directors Thursday that it’s no longer financially sustainable to operate the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station and he recommended that it be closed by the end of the year. The board is expected to vote on the recommendations next month.

About 150 of the nearly 700 workers at the plant live in Fort Calhoun, Blair or elsewhere in Washington County, the Omaha World-Herald reported (http://bit.ly/1qi4x1z ). Local businesses often reap benefits from workers who commute there.

The Calhoun Oil service station sits right on Highway 75, and often captures the daily stream of traffic flowing to and from the plant.

“I hate to see anyone lose their job,” said patron Kevin Burns, a Fort Calhoun resident. “There are probably a lot of guys close to retirement.”

Lisa Scheve, director of Washington County’s economic development arm, said that there is enough time to assess the workers’ skills and find a way to keep them in the area.

“We have great skilled, quality talent, and we want to retain that talent in Washington County and the greater Omaha area,” said Scheve, of Gateway Development Corporation.

Sandy Kucera, owner of Too Far North, a gift, antique and wine shop in Fort Calhoun, said she will inevitably lose some business if OPPD closes its plant.

“I think it’s a tragedy for our community,” she said.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com

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