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Fort Calhoun Flood Disaster

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Flood Threat To Nuclear Plants Covered Up By Regulators, NRC Whistleblower Claims. In a letter submitted Friday afternoon to internal investigators at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a whistleblower engineer within the agency accused regulators of deliberately covering up information relating to the vulnerability of U.S. nuclear power facilities that sit downstream from large dams and reservoirs.

Flood Threat To Nuclear Plants Covered Up By Regulators, NRC Whistleblower Claims

The letter also accuses the agency of failing to act to correct these vulnerabilities despite being aware of the risks for years. These charges were echoed in separate conversations with another risk engineer inside the agency who suggested that the vulnerability at one plant in particular -- the three-reactor Oconee Nuclear Station near Seneca, S.C. -- put it at risk of a flood and subsequent systems failure, should an upstream dam completely fail, that would be similar to the tsunami that hobbled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility in Japan last year. That event caused multiple reactor meltdowns. Also on HuffPost: Nuclear power plant management turned over to Exelon.

WSJ: Even though Ft. Calhoun reactor is in ‘shutdown’ it requires electricity to avoid melting of core. Fort Calhoun under new management. Exelon Generation is to take on the management of the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant under an operating services agreement with Omaha Public Power District (OPPD).

Fort Calhoun under new management

The plant has been offline since April 2011 and regulators must be satisfied with safety before restart. Fort Calhoun's single 478 MWe pressurised water reactor has been in an extended shutdown since April 2011, after flooding of the Missouri River interrupted a scheduled refuelling outage. Exelon Nuclear Partners, a division of Exelon Generation, has been assisting in the 'recovery' of the plant since January. Now the company is set to increase its involvement, providing day-to-day operations management. OPPD will remain the plant's owner and licensed operator, and the plant will be staffed by a blended team of OPPD and Exelon employees. The summer of 2011 saw the Missouri River flood to historic levels. Researched and writtenby World Nuclear News. Electrical Fire Knocks Out Spent Fuel Cooling at Nebraska Nuke Plant.

Officials at Fort Calhoun plant in Omaha, Neb., said the situation at their plant came nowhere near to Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, where uncooled spent fuel released radiation.

Electrical Fire Knocks Out Spent Fuel Cooling at Nebraska Nuke Plant

They said it would have taken 88 hours for the heat produced by the fuel to boil away the cooling water. Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant (OPPD/Nuclear) A fire [1] in an electrical switch room on Tuesday briefly knocked out cooling for a pool holding spent nuclear fuel at the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant [2] outside Omaha, Neb., plant officials said. The safety of deep pools used to store used radioactive fuel at nuclear plants has been an issue since the accident at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant in March. If the cooling water a pool is lost, the used nuclear fuel could catch fire and release radiation. As ProPublica reported earlier, fire safety is a continuing concern [3] at the country's 104 commercial reactors, as is the volume of spent fuel [4] piling up at plants. Reactor Accidents. FLOOD at FORT CALHOUN Updated, Monday, June 27, 2011, 11:30 am.

Reactor Accidents

The situation at Fort Calhoun became more precarious Sunday as OPPD workers punctured the 8-foot water-filled berm protecting the reactor and other essential buildings (although the berm does not protect irradiated fuel stored in dry casks at the site). The berm collapsed and the floodwaters rushed into the area containing the main electrical transformers, flooding the area. The utility cut off offsite power in response, and began running on emergency diesel generators to provide cooling for the reactor--never a good situation. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission activated its Incident Response Center to keep a closer eye on the events at Fort Calhoun, and NRC Chairman Greg Jaczko is scheduled to visit the site today. Offsite power apparently has been restored to the site.

This short article from today's Huffington Post includes a new photo of Fort Calhoun. June 15, 2011, updated June 22, 2011 On June 22, 2011, the U.S.