Concern is growing about the safety of a nuclear power plant that sits in a Missouri River flood plain. The Fort Calhoun Nuclear plant was cited for inadequate flood protection just last year and is currently a sandbagged island as the Missouri sits at 1.5 feet over flood stage and is expected to rise another five feet.
Nothing to Worry About
Federal regulators and officials with the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) insist there is no danger but list the status of the plant at “notification of unusual event,” which is the lowest emergency level emergency. Spokespeople for the OPPD say there has been no leaking of radioactive materials and none expected.
In the wake of the recent disaster at Fukushima, rumors have been flying fast across the Internet about Fort Calhoun, fueled by the FAA closing the airspace over the plant and an electrical fire, which temporarily shut down cooling pumps. But the FAA’s closing on June 6th was in response to the flooding, and company officials have stated that the plant’s spent fuel was never in any danger during the brief power outage.
The Missouri continues to rise, but officials are confident that the plant is secure. Fort Calhoun has been in cold shutdown since April 9th and will remain so until after the flood waters recede, which is not expected to happen soon. In fact, flooding is likely to remain a concern on and off for the rest of the summer for many parts of the Upper Midwest.
What Do You Think?
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Photo credit: Missouri River by USACEpublicaffairs