OMAHA, Nebraska — Federal regulators say the utility that runs the Cooper nuclear power plant in southeast Nebraska needs to improve how workers respond to problems.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials said Monday they plan to meet with the Nebraska Public Power District on June 26 to discuss concerns inspectors identified last year.
The NRC said that Cooper's overall performance is acceptable, but regulators to know what NPPD has done to improve the way problems are analyzed and addressed.
NRC spokeswoman Lara Uselding said the utility hasn't always fully addressed the root causes of some problems at Cooper, located near Brownville on the Missouri River, about 70 miles south of Omaha. The NRC didn't provide any specific examples of the problems at Cooper in regulatory letters outlining the concern.
Regulators also said utility officials have used conservative assumptions in some of their decisions.
NPPD spokesman Mark Becker said the plant's managers are working to correct this issue and will give regulators an update next week. But Becker emphasized Cooper's safety.
"In no way does it mean that the plant is not operating safely," Becker said.
The NRC hasn't found any serious safety violations at Cooper recently under the agency's color-coded regulatory system. Only minor concerns, called green findings, were identified in 2012.
Cooper is in better shape than Nebraska's other nuclear power plant. Fort Calhoun, about 20 miles north of Omaha, has been shut down since April 2011 because of flooding, a small fire at the plant and a series of safety violations regulators have since identified.
Fort Calhoun's owner, the Omaha Public Power District, is working to address all the concerns and hopes to resume generating power there this summer. But the NRC must agree that Fort Calhoun is ready to operate safely before it can be restarted.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission: http://www.nrc.gov
Nebraska Public Power District: http://www.nppd.com