While insisting that Nebraska’s two nuclear power plants remain safe in the face of record flooding from the Missouri River, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on Wednesday issued a statement noting among other things “two feet of water” onsite in many areas of the Fort Calhoun plant which is 19 miles north of Omaha.
The NRC says it has upped its around the clock coverage at Fort Calhoun which is operated by the Omaha Public Power District. In addition to the two resident inspectors “three more inspectors and a branch chief” are now at the plant along with satellite phones for key workers and extra food and water.
Fort Calhoun and the Nebraska Public Power District’s (NPPD) Cooper Nuclear Station in Brownville, which is 70 miles from both Omaha and Lincoln, remain under what are known as “Unusual Event” declarations, the NRC’s lowest emergency level.
As of Wednesday the river remained two feet from forcing NPPD to declare an “Alert” and shut the reactor down. Earlier this week a Cooper spokesman told Nebraska Watchdog a shutdown would occur over a period of 4-10 hours although it could occur “within three seconds” if necessary. The spokesman insists that there is no fear of a meltdown because Cooper “would be operating with power from off-site sources that would run the pumps and other equipment necessary to keep the reactor and spent fuel storage facility with cooling water.”
Fort Calhoun shut down for a refueling outage on April 7 and OPPD has decided not to restart the plant until the Missouri’s flood waters back-off.
Reported by Joe Jordan, firstname.lastname@example.org
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