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Monday, June 27, 2011

Nebraska nuke plant not "watertight" after all

Yesterday the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was telling worried observers that the troubled Fort Calhoun nuclear reactor plant in Nebraska was "watertight." Well, that was false, as today's news reveals:

Missouri River floodwater seeped into the turbine building at a nuclear power plant near Omaha on Monday, but plant officials said the seepage was expected and posed no safety risk because the building contains no nuclear material....

Omaha Public Power District spokesman Jeff Hanson said pumps were handling the problem at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station and that "everything is secure and safe." The plant, about 20 miles north of Omaha, has been closed for refueling since April. Hanson said the berm's collapse didn't affect the shutdown or the spent fuel pool cooling.

If there's anything we've learned from Fukushima, it's that the nuclear industry and its lapdogs in government don't tell the truth until they're forced to. Some things don't vary across national boundaries. Expect the story in Omaha to keep evolving for the worse in the days ahead.

Comments (13)

I believe the text on the AP link has changed since you posted this.

They updated it to show the NRC chief puppet saying "no immediate threat" to public health and safety. I love the "immediate" part -- so reassuring.

Nucle-heads, pretty much the whole lot of them.

Meanwhile, back in Japan, folks are peeing radioactive urine...

From Japan Times:
More than 3 millisieverts of radiation has been measured in the urine of 15 Fukushima residents of the village of Iitate and the town of Kawamata, confirming internal radiation exposure, it was learned Sunday.
Both are about 30 to 40 km from the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, which has been releasing radioactive material into the environment since the week of March 11, when the quake and tsunami caused core meltdowns.

In Omaha, there's no immediate threat. That's because nothing's started floating downstream as yet.

I share may of your concerns about nuclear safety, but what I have been seeing with the reports from the Washington Post and AP is bordering on sensationalism, fueling the anti-nuke crowd into a frenzy of another Fukushima like situation.
They are writing these reports based on snipets from various sources, piecing them together from a newsroom 1,500 miles away from the plant, with no one on the ground here in Nebraska.
In my position, I call on both Nuclear facilities (Ft. Calhoun and Brownsville / Cooper), in talking with some of my good friends, they are working mega hours, keeping up with the flooding.
I'm seeing, plus they are seeing, such as the seepage into the lower floors of the turbine building at FC, that the reports are getting blown way out of proportion by the press.
Moreover, the idea of some grand conspiracy that OPPD, NPPD and the NRC are hiding information under some kind of Tri-Lateral Commission Scam, and have every employee follow in lock step with a 1984 like devotion, is humorous at best.
Honestly, we're not THAT smart.
That being said, I'm hoping for the best, and knowing many of the employees, you have good folks on the ground at both plants.
God Speed to them.

Shame on your friends and all the other nuclear industry people who make money by putting public health and safety at grave risk. If that pile of poorly engineered junk blows, you will all get what you deserve, but unfortunately hundreds of thousands of others will get what they don't deserve.

working mega hours, keeping up with the flooding... I'm hoping for the best...

Not good enough. Not even close.

the Washington Post and AP is bordering on sensationalism

No, just the truth -- not as spun out by the atom crowd.

Sounds like the Omaha media is doing its best to sedate Nebraskans. Doesn't matter how it gets spun, a nuclear plant inundated with water is never a good thing. If they planned for this, as they say, why are employees working "mega hours" in an attempt to avert disaster?

Even if they do succeed, we need to ask ourselves in what conditions/locations can nuclear power be generated safely, without risk from natural disasters, operator error, etc? Of course, that place doesn't exist on a dynamic, volatile planet.

Jack, it's obvious that you are passionate about this subject, so I will defer to your beliefs on Nuclear Power rather than calling for a calm review of the situation.
My brother is an engineer for OPPD, so I feel that I have a pretty good insight to the situation. I do not consider him the type to be a money grubber who puts peoples health and safety at risk.
He would be the first to call and let our family, as well as all, know to "bug out".
At this point, I will score one for you Jack and let the situation play out.

PDXileinOmaha - We're from the govt and we are here to tell you that you are safe and sound... not to worry, we are always here to help you.... and don't worry the check is in the mail.

LucsAdvo, Touche! Point well taken.

TKrueg, there are many things being blown out of proportion. Example, this evening, the lead story on KETV 6:00 News, was a statement from the US ACE dispelling the huge internet rumor that because of the huge amount of water being let out at Gavins Point Dam, it was eroding the bottom of the dam, so they were going to blow up the dam.
I don't think that our four Television Stations with News, the Omaha World-Herald, the Lincoln Journal Star, Clear Channel, etc. have collaborated to keep us sedated. If something goes horribly wrong, they will be the first to report or set off the EMS System.

So the rubber berm that broke was filled with water? Great.

I don't mean to be critical, but this is serious. Next time, I would go with lots of individual water balloons instead.

This way, if one water balloon breaks, the rest are still o.k. Obviously, Bill and I are unqualified to be nuclear engineers.

Who said anything about collaboration? They're simply repeating a carefully crafted message to keep citizens and the local economy from being spooked. After all, there are tourists in town for the College World Series...

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