Nuclear Plant Problem in Nebraska

June 20th, 2011
in econ_news

nuclear-fort-calhoun Econintersect:  Just as water was a big problem in Japan, it is also big problem in Nebraska.  The nuclear disaster in Fukushima was at least as much the result of damage and water from the tsunami as from the earthquake itself.  Now the Missouri River appears to have dumped water into the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant near Omaha.  There is limited official information on the extent to which water has intruded or is interfering with operations.  According to The Nation, the government has ordered a news blackout.

Follow up:

From The Nation

A shocking report prepared by Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency (FAAE) on information provided to them by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) states that the Obama regime has ordered a “total and complete” news blackout relating to any information regarding the near catastrophic meltdown of the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant located in Nebraska.  According to this report, the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant suffered a “catastrophic loss of cooling” to one of its idle spent fuel rod pools on 7 June after this plant was deluged with water caused by the historic flooding of the Missouri River...

One of the most reliable news investigators, Propublica, reported:

Workers restored cooling in about 90 minutes, and plant officials said the temperature in the pool only increased by two degrees.

The fire, reported at 9:30 a.m., led to the loss of electrical power for the system that circulates cooling water through the spent fuel pool, according to a report [5] from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. A chemical fire suppression system discharged, and the plant's fire brigade cleared smoke from the room and reported that the fire was out at 10:20 a.m., the NRC said.

An available back-up pumping system was not used.

Propublica has an ongoing investigation of fire control proceedures at nuclear power plants and has produced some very critical reports.

Editor's note:  Same news but two totally different reports.  Attempts to compare the Fort Calhoun situation to Japan's Fukushima disaster do not appear to be supported by fact.

The Associated Press also has an onging investigation of nuclear plant safety.  From R&D:

Federal regulators have been working closely with the nuclear power industry to keep the nation's aging reactors operating within safety standards by repeatedly weakening those standards, or simply failing to enforce them, an investigation by The Associated Press has found.

Time after time, officials at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission have decided that original regulations were too strict, arguing that safety margins could be eased without peril, according to records and interviews.

The result? Rising fears that these accommodations by the NRC are significantly undermining safety — and inching the reactors closer to an accident that could harm the public and jeopardize the future of nuclear power in the United States.


In other related news, the FAA (Federal Avaiation Authority) has closed the airspace within 2 nautical miles of the Fort Calhoun site.

Sources:  Propublica, R&D and The Nation 

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