Fort Calhoun Nuke Plant, Feet Away from Core Damage


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman, Gregory Jaczko, said today that they are keeping a close eye on Fort Calhoun “to make sure that the Omaha Public Power District does the right thing.”

The nuclear power plant, located 19 miles north of Omaha, Nebraska, has been surrounded and partially covered in flood waters for days, precariously close to the point at which during 2009 the NRC said that Fort Calhoun faced “a 100% chance of core reactor damage caused by a flood rising above 1,010 feet.” (that is, feet above sea level).

The NRC chairman said today that the swelling Missouri River is expected to go no higher than 1,008 feet above sea level, six feet lower than the point at which ”safety systems” would fail.

There is an obvious discrepancy between the 2009 NRC statement and the current statement by the NRC chairman. A few feet of interpretation could make the difference between system failure leading to core damage, or no damage at all.

If I lived in Omaha, I would be keeping a close eye on this, to say the least. Having learned from the Fukushima-Japan nuclear disaster… that the utility company (TEPCO) and the Japanese government kept the truth from the mainstream for quite some time – at least until the news cycle had cooled down and switched over to other hot news topics, much trust was lost in organizations that have self-preservation as their main interest.

Although the current forecast is for the flood levels to stabilize, we all know how often the forecast is actually correct…

Video of Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant Flooding

A rubber berm which was holding back flood waters, has failed and is causing flooding around the electrical transformers, forcing the plant to temporarily rely on backup power diesel generators.

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