June 27, 2011 0019 GMT
A water-filled berm protecting a nuclear power plant in Nebraska from rising
floodwaters collapsed Sunday, according to a spokesman, who said the plant
Some sort of machinery came in contact with the berm, puncturing it and
causing the berm to deflate, said Mike Jones, a spokesman for the Omaha Public
Power District (OPPD), which owns the Fort Calhoun plant.
The plant, located about 20 miles north of Omaha, has been shut since April
“The plant is still protected. This was an additional, a secondary, level of
protection that we had put up,” Jones said. “The plant remains protected to the
level it would have been if the aqua berm had not been added.”
Parts of the grounds are already under water as the swollen Missouri River
overflows its banks, including areas around some auxiliary buildings, Jones
In addition to the berm, authorities have put in place floodgates and other
barriers to help protect the facility, like sandbags.
The 8-foot-tall, water-filled berm, 16 feet wide at its base, surrounded the
reactor containment structure and auxiliary buildings, according to the Nuclear
“We built the plant up high enough based on history, based on the flooding in
the past. If the flood would rise for some reason above that level we have taken
precautions, again, per our procedures to sandbag the important equipment for
the reactors,” said Dave Van Der Kamp, with the NRC.
He said the chances of floodwater getting into the building where the core is
kept are almost zero.
The plant is designed to withstand waters up to 1,014 feet above mean sea
level, according to the OPPD. The river currently stands at 1,006.3 feet and is
not expected to exceed 1,008 feet, the Power District said.
Heavy rainfall in Montana and North Dakota, combined with melting snow from
the Rocky Mountains, have sent the Missouri surging downstream this summer. The
river washed over and punched through levees in nearby northwestern Missouri,
spurring authorities to urge about 250 nearby residents to leave their
The 6 to 12 inches of rainfall in the upper Missouri basin in the past few
weeks is nearly a normal year’s worth, and runoff from the mountain snowpack is
140% of normal, according to forecasters.
It was catastrophic flooding from Japan’s March 11 tsunami that knocked out
cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, resulting in three
reactors melting down and producing the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
This year’s Midwestern flooding has also led to a spate of rumors about the Fort
Calhoun plant that OPPD and the NRC have been trying to knock down.
The utility has set up a “flood rumor control” page to
reassure the public that there has been no release of radioactivity from the
plant. An electrical fire June 7 did knock out cooling to its spent fuel storage
pool for about 90 minutes, but the coolant water did not reach a boiling point
before backup pumps went into service, it has said.
the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Generating Station was commissioned on August 9th, 1973
August 9th, 1973
8 + 9 +1+9+7+3 = 37 = the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Generating Station’s life lesson = what the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Generating Station is here to learn = Water. Missouri River.
August 9th, 1973
8 + 9 +2+0+1+0 = 20 = the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Generating Station’s personal year (from August 9th, 2010 to August 8th, 2011) = Turning point.
20 year + 6 (June) = 26 = the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Generating Station’s personal month (from June 9th, 2011 to July 8th, 2011) = Photos. In the news.
26 month + 26 (26th of the month on Sunday June 26th, 2011) = 52 = the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Generating Station’s personal day = Gossip. Rumors.