power – strom und macht

Fort Calhoun nuclear plant in Nebraska USA

Susanne Gerber


The flood waters in the Missouri continue to pose a danger to the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant in Nebraska. As you may know, an electrical fire at the spent fuel pools at Fort Calhoun temporarily knocked out power for cooling, and the operator flooded the containment building. So far, I have seen no evidence of any release of radiation, although there are a number of worrying factors in the form of a „perfect storm“ which could – in a worst-case scenario – lead to an accident.The latest updates include:

  • An „event“ at the Fort Calhoun plant was reportedto the Nuclear Regulatory Commission:

    Facility: FORT CALHOUN
    Notification Date: 06/16/2011
    Notification Time: 14:46 [ET]
    Event Date: 06/16/2011
    Event Time: 12:30 [CDT]


    “Operations identified a potential flooding issue in the Intake Structure 1007 ft. 6 in. level. The area of concern is a the hole in the floor at the 1007 ft. 6 in. level where the relief valve from FP-1A discharge pipe goes through the raw pump bay and discharges into the intake cell. There is one penetration of concern. Flooding through this penetration could have impacted the ability of the station’s Raw Water (RW) pumps to perform their design accident mitigation functions. “Efforts are in progress to seal the penetration. “This eight-hour notification is being made pursuant to 10 CFR 50.72 (b)(3)(v).” The licensee notified the NRC Resident Inspector.

  • WOWT reports:

    [Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant’s chief nuclear officer, Dave Bannister] said for the plant to get to a disaster level, floodwater would have to rise three and a half feet above where it stands now.

  • The Kansas City Star notes:

    The endless complexities have made prediction a tough task, said
    Ross Wolford, a hydrologist working long days for the National Weather
    Service in order to try to predict the river’s flow. “We don’t have, nor does the Corps or anyone else have, a hydraulic model of what the [Missouri] river’s going to do,” Wolford said. “There’s a lot of art
    in the way we estimate.”

  • The Journal Star points out:

    The flood begins higher up, at places like Dark Horse Lake in the Bitterroots, [Montana] where another 2 inches of snow fell late this week, landing on the 8 feet still on the ground. “It’s all starting here,” said Jim Brusda with the National Weather Service in Great Falls, Mont. “It’s going to flow back down there toward Nebraska” … “People who have been here 50 years, 70 years, say they haven’t seen anything like this … And there’s a lot of water to come” … And as the snow-fed Missouri crosses Montana, it’s collecting record rainfall, too. Some areas received 10 inches in three weeks; 3 inches fell on a town in northeast Montana between Thursday and Friday. The rain is expected to continue through the weekend. An even stronger storm system could surface next week.

  • The Kansas City Star notesthe at the Army Corps of Engineers is planning on releasing more water:

    Heavy rainfall expected over the Dakotas in coming days, combined with rains from the past few weeks, have officials worried they’re running out of space in upstream dams, potentially forcing them to release even more pent-up water downstream [the Missouri River] … One of the Army Corps’ biggest tools is the Gavins Point Dam, the last stop for the Missouri River in South Dakota, which will blast out a record 150,000 cubic feet of water per second through at least mid-August…. Officials now think they might have to boost the amount to 160,000 cubic feet, saying they’re running out of options to manage all the water upstream.  “At this point, we have very little flexibility remaining,” Farhat said.

    (the Missouri flows from South Dakota to Nebraska)

KTIV reports:

[I]n Pierre, South Dakota, the Army Corps announced it’ll raise releases at the Oahe Dam [a second dam] another 10,000 cubic feet per second this weekend. That will bring it to 160,000 by Sunday. “We are transferring flood storage from Oahe and Big Bend to Fort Randall, which has more storage available at this time,” said Jody Farhat, chief of Water Management, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Northwestern Division. “The amount of rain has nearly filled the reservoirs, doing away with most of the flexibility we had built into our operations for this year,” said Farhat.


Filed under: Accident

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