LOL Romney: running the country like a business

“Maybe I can liquidate Nebraska and redistribute its assets to a more viable investment.” (joegressivism)

“But if I HAVE to sell the desk chairs for petty cash, so be it. It’ll help the poor people improve their riding posture.” (republicanidiots)

‘Life threatening’ storms forecasted this afternoon

image: (AP Photo/NOAA)

Forecasters say Saturday storms ‘life threatening’

It was only the second time in U.S. history that the Storm Prediction Center issued a high-risk warning more than 24 hours in advance, said Russ Schneider, director of the center, which is part of the National Weather Service. The first time was in April 2006, when nearly 100 tornadoes tore across the southeastern U.S., killing a dozen people and damaging more than 1,000 homes in Tennessee.

This weekend’s outbreak could be a “high-end, life threatening event,” the center said.

[...] The worst weather is expected to develop late Saturday afternoon between Oklahoma City and Salina, Kan., but other areas also could see severe storms with baseball-sized hail and winds of up to 70 mph, forecasters said. The warning issued Friday covers parts of Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

Read full article…

Weather: Look out, Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas


High Tornado Alert

Look out, Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas.

Tornado watches are in effect through Saturday and into the foreseeable future as a collision of weather fronts make their way back-and-forth across the country. Storm Chasers are video streaming their drives into danger. Drive along with them safely by clicking on the car icons above.

Storm Chasers video and storm tracker here

Senators Nelson (D-NE) and Tester (D-MT), voted with the GOP to tell the 99percent to go f*ck themselves

SO YOU WANT TO BLAME OBAMA FOR EVERYTHING? Here’s what happened with the jobs bill last night. It needed 60 votes and it failed, 50 to 49:

At least two Democrats voted with Republican senators to continue debate, essentially killing the bill in its current form.

“I can’t support this bill because it represents billions of dollars in new spending and more taxes,” said Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., explaining his “no” vote on the motion to end debate and move to a final vote on passage of the bill.

Nelson is facing a tough re-election battle next year in a state where Obama got 42 percent of the vote in 2008.

Also facing a re-election battle in 2012 is another Democrat who voted “no,” Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, a state Obama barely lost in 2008.

APPARENTLY ONE OF THE MAIN factors the GOP says they can’t accept (as if they need a reason to vote ‘no’) is the “millionaire’s tax” to fund job initiatives:

Republicans vehemently oppose a recently added provision that would fund the measure through a 5.6% surtax on annual incomes over $1 million. GOP leaders have accused the president of engaging in so-called “class warfare” for political reasons, while Democrats have called the proposal fair and accused their opponents of taking the side of the rich over the vast majority of Americans.


First, an astounding 75% of Americans back raising taxes on individuals making more than $1 million a year, according to an October 5 Washington Post/ABC News poll. This includes 89% of Democrats, 75% of independents, 57% of Republicans and 55% of Tea Party supporters.

AREN’T THESE ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES supposed to be representing what we, the people, want? Apparently the Republican party believes they can do as they like and their voting base will always be there to support them. And that’s probably true.

But a jobs bill for the unemployed, paid for by the one percent who have benefited the most over the past three decades — but especially during the financial crisis — isn’t only completely reasonable and fair, it’s supported by the 99 percent. Too bad the GOP only represents the one percent, who already got enormous bail-outs from our government.


Checking in on Fort Calhoun, Cooper Nuclear Station and Los Alamos

THERE IS NO ‘NEW‘ NEWS FROM EITHER NEBRASKA NUCLEAR PLANT next to the flooded Missouri River. There have been no new event notifications to the NRC in the last week. River gauge readings for both Fort Calhoun (Blair) and Cooper (Brownsville) are well below the “major” flood stage and should continue to drop. Cooper remains on line, running at 100 percent while Fort Calhoun remains shutdown. This situation is likely to last through August.

Missouri River near Blair

Missouri River at Brownville

LOS ALAMOS: 12,000 RESIDENTS RETURNED HOME on Sunday when the evacuation order was lifted. And yesterday the Los Alamos National Laboratory reopened and its employees returned to work. The residents have two new problems though:  the fires chased lots of wildlife into the town, including black bears.

Romp: Brown bears have invaded deserted Los Alamos and as residents return home they are being warned about their new guests
Romp: Brown bears have invaded deserted Los Alamos and as residents return home they are being warned about their new guests

Additionally, New Mexico’s monsoon season is set to begin, now with an even greater potential for flash flooding:

The risk to flooding has been aggravated by the raging wildfire which has burned off trees, ground-hugging grasses and vegetation, raising concerns that any run-off will barrel down canyons unchecked, causing creeks to burst their banks.

Fires, bear invasions, and floods: worst summer ever!

Fire inside protected area and injured worker at Fort Calhoun nuclear plant

Event Number: 47001 | Date: 6/30/2011


“At 1423 CDT, the Control Room was notified of a fire inside the protected area isolated to a portable water evacuation pump. At 1425 CDT, the Control Room was notified the fire was extinguished and the presence of an injured person; the Control Room immediately notified Washington County 911 to request emergency medical assistance. At 1511 CDT, injured person was transferred off-site by medical helicopter.

“This four-hour notification is being made pursuant to 10 CFR 50.72(b)(2)(xi), event or situation related to health and safety of on-site personnel for which notification to other government agencies has been made. NRC Resident informed.

“Due to this event, 1/2 gallon of gasoline was discharged to the Missouri River. The spill was reported to the State of Nebraska on 6/30/2011.

“This condition is also being reported pursuant to 10 CFR 50.72(b)(2)(xi) for News Release or Notification of Other Government Agency. Applicable state agencies have been notified per plant procedures.”

The injured person is a plant employee and was injured while refueling a portable generator. The injured person suffered burns to the forearms and neck. The licensee intends to issue a press release.

The NRC Resident Inspector has been notified.

Here’s the press release from the Omaha World-Herald: Fire injury: A worker refilling the gas tank of a portable pump at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station was burned Thursday after the tank caught fire. He was taken by medical helicopter to a Lincoln hospital for treatment of arm and facial burns. The employee was injured as he used an extinguisher to put out the fire, said Jeff Hanson, a spokesman for the Omaha Public Power District. The portable pump was outside the security building — surrounded by sandbags to keep floodwaters away — but the building is not part of the power facility. The pumps are used to remove water that seeps under the barrier. Hanson said the Fort Calhoun plant was not endangered in the incident. The worker was not identified, so that relatives could be notified.

Image of Fort Calhoun collected 6/28/11 by DigitalGlobe (click to enlarge):

Image: DigitalGlobe

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Flooding at Fort Calhoun: Water surrounds reactor building, spend fuel pool building

Flood tests not over for nuke plant:

Because of the collapsed water-filled dam, river water surrounds the main reactor building, mechanical building, spent fuel pool building and other structures.

Barriers at entrances to the buildings are keeping that water from entering, Hanson said. A “minor” amount of water did seep into the plant’s turbine building, he said, and was pumped out.

The buildings themselves and associated pumps and electrical equipment are designed to handle flooding up to 1,014 feet above sea level. The river is a little over 1,006 feet now and is forecast to reach a crest of 1,008 feet, barring extraordinary rains.

What if the river keeps rising? Read more…

Meanwhile, Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko offered support for both utilities after visiting the plants. He said both Fort Calhoun and Cooper remain safe.

See all related posts for Fort Calhoun & Cooper Nuclear Station »

NRC issues press release regarding Fort Calhoun’s berm collapse

NRC issues press release on Fort Calhoun’s berm failure (PDF doc):

06/26/2011 IV-11-031

NRC Activates Incident Response Center for Tracking Events at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant

The collapse of the berm also allowed floodwaters to surround the main electrical transformers. Operators transferred power from offsite sources to the emergency diesel generators as a precautionary measure due to water leakage around the concrete berm surrounding the main transformers. Efforts are underway to reconnect to offsite power once all safety checks have been completed.

NRC inspectors were onsite at the time and responded to the event. They have verified that reactor shutdown cooling and spent fuel pool cooling remain unaffected. NRC augmented its resident inspection staff on June 6, to provide around the clock coverage of site activities. The plant has been shutdown since April 7 for a refueling outage.

In response to the event, the NRC has activated its Incident Response Center from which it is monitoring events. NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko plans to visit the site tomorrow.

See all related posts for Fort Calhoun & Cooper Nuclear Station »

Fort Calhoun: nuclear material being cooled by backup generators after berm collapse

After the 2,000 foot berm which collapsed on Sunday at the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant — from ABC News:

The breach allowed Missouri River flood waters to reach containment buildings and transformers and forcing the shutdown of electrical power.

Backup generators are cooling the nuclear material at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station.

The plant has not operated since April, and officials say there is no danger to the public.

The berm is the Aquadam, the huge inner-tube structure which was surrounding the plant. The WSJ reports electricity was restored, but I don’t see that reported anywhere else. NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko is scheduled to visit the plant today:

The berm’s collapse allowed floodwaters to wash around the main electrical transformers. As a result, emergency diesel power generators were started. Later in the day, power was restored.

The NRC’s Mr. Dricks said temperature monitors were working properly and temperatures of key parts of the nuclear power plant were normal. Water has not seeped into any of the containment structures, he said.

Two NOUEs were submitted to the NRC:


“At approximately 0125 [hrs. CDT], the AquaDam providing enhanced flood protection for FCS [Ft. Calhoun Station] Unit 1 failed. At 0221, as a precautionary measure, DG-2 [Diesel Generator] was automatically started per plant procedure to divorce bus 1A4 from offsite power. At 0250, DG-1 was automatically started to divorce bus 1A3. Both Emergency Diesel Generators loaded on buses as designed. 345KV and 161KV offsite power remain available.

“This is reportable pursuant to 10CFR50.72(b)(3)(iv)(A), ‘System Actuation of the Emergency Diesel Generators’. All safety related flood protection barriers remain in place.

“Current river level is 1006.5′ MSL and stable. FCS remains in a NOUE [Notification of Unusual Event] due to high river level.


“At approximately 0125 CDT, the AquaDam providing enhanced flood protection for Fort Calhoun Station Unit 1 failed. This resulted in approximately 100 gallons of petroleum being released into the river after a protective barrier was breached and many fuel containers were washed out to the river. The fuel/oil containers were staged around the facility to supply fuel for pumps which remove water within the flood containment barriers. The spill was reported to the State of Nebraska at 10:45 AM CDT on 6/26/2011.

“This condition is being reported pursuant to 10 CFR 50.72(b)(2)(xi) for News Release or Notification of Other Government Agency. Applicable governmental agencies have been notified per plant procedures.”

The licensee notified the NRC Resident Inspector.

See all related posts for Fort Calhoun & Cooper Nuclear Station »

Berm collapse at Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant — NRC says ‘no danger’

Omaha World-Herald:

OMAHA, Neb. — A berm holding back floodwater at a Nebraska nuclear power plant has collapsed.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says the 2,000-foot berm at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station collapsed about 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

There is no danger. The plant has been shut down since early April for refueling, and the commission says there’s no water inside.

Also, the Missouri River isn’t expected to rise past the flood level the plant was designed to handle.

The NRC says its inspectors were at the plant when the berm failed and have confirmed that the flooding has had no impact on the reactor shutdown cooling or the spent fuel pool cooling. NRC spokesman Victor Dricks says the plant remains safe.

NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko will visit the plant Monday.

Except on 23 JUNE 2011 the report was:NRC on Fort Calhoun: “there is now two feet of water in many areas onsite.”

UPDATE: 27 JUNEFort Calhoun: nuclear material being cooled by backup generators after berm collapse

See all related posts for Fort Calhoun & Cooper Nuclear Station »

UPDATED: Levee failure near Brownsville — no threat to Cooper Nuclear Station

Omaha World-Herald reports:

A Missouri River levee three miles north of Brownville, Neb., failed Thursday night, triggering evacuations in Atchison County, Mo.

According to early assessments, the breach posed no threat to the Cooper Nuclear Station near Brownville.

Missouri River at Brownville

Flash Flood Warning

UPDATE 8:00 AM MST ******

Or you could look at this another way:

Levee break offers brief reprieve for Nebraska nuke plant

The failure of a Missouri River levee in northwest Missouri is offering a brief reprieve from flooding for southeast Nebraska near the Cooper nuclear power plant.

The National Weather Service says the river level dropped more than a foot at Brownville to 43.1 feet Friday morning after Thursday’s levee breach upstream in northwest Missouri.

Before the breach, the river had been 44.8-feet-deep at Brownville on Thursday. The weather service predicts the river to return to that depth over the weekend.

The Nebraska Public Power District owns the nuclear power plant. The river would have to rise to 46.5 feet before reaching Cooper, but the plant would be shut down as a precaution if the river reached 45.5 feet.

See all related posts for Fort Calhoun & Cooper Nuclear Station »

Maddow Blog: What’s scary (and not) about Nebraska’s nuke plants

The Maddow Blog comments on the ZOMG! JUST LIKE FUKUSHIMA!! Media Blackout ordered by the New World Order!!!-style blogging that’s currently flying around on the interwebs about Nebraska’s nuclear plants:

No, there was NOT a near nuclear meltdown in Nebraska on June 7. And no, there’s been NO radiation leak from Fort Calhoun Station, pictured notably above. The Lincoln Journal-Star today runs down the myths and rumors about Nebraska’s two nuclear plants at risk of flooding by the Missouri River — it’s well worth reading.

The Journal-Star also asks the two utilities involved what would happen in a worst-case scenario and gets not much of an answer.

Q: What is the likelihood that radioactive particles could enter the water or atmosphere from an accident caused by floodwaters?

OPPD: The fuel is safe and secure.

NPPD: Again, extremely unlikely. Cooper has physical and equipment barriers in place that would prevent any radioactivity from entering the water, the first of which is preventing the water from entering the building.

Q: If floodwaters do inundate Fort Calhoun, what is the risk to people living in the surrounding area?

OPPD: We feel that the plant is secure. The risk to the surrounding area will be provided by the flood, not our plant.

NPPD: We are taking the proactive and precautionary steps to minimize any risk.

In essence, don’t worry about what could happen because nothing will happen. Got it?

THAT’S scary — not the fiction and conspiracy theories.

See all related posts for Fort Calhoun & Cooper Nuclear Station »

NRC on Fort Calhoun: “there is now two feet of water in many areas onsite.”

The NRC has augmented its inspection staff at Fort Calhoun where there is now two feet of water in many areas onsite. In addition to the two resident inspectors, three more inspectors and a branch chief are there to provide around the clock coverage of licensee activities.

[...] An earthern berm protects the electrical switchyard and a concrete barrier has been built around electrical transformers to protect them. Satellite phones have been distributed to key workers. Extra food and water has been stockpiled.

Existing diesel fuel tanks have been topped off and two additional fuel tanks have been brought onsite. Special gas-fired pumps are available in the event of station blackout. If there is a complete loss of power on site the pumps can circulate cooling water through the spent fuel pool and reactor core.

NRC Blog: The Rising River Puts Flood Preparations to the Test

They report that “The plant has erected an Aquadam around the powerblock…The water-filled berm is eight feet tall and 16 feet wide at the base, and provides protection for up to six feet of water,” and discuss how the Aquadam is protecting the plant and vital equipment.

So why is there two feet of water in many areas of the plant then? Is it coming in another way, like through drains? Because there was a Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s EVENT NOTIFICATION REPORT last Friday at Fort Calhoun:


“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).”

See all related posts for Fort Calhoun & Cooper Nuclear Station »

Cooper Nuclear Station: Brownville currently listed on map as “major flooding”

From — Missouri River level at Brownville:

Flood Categories (in feet)

Major Flood Stage: 43
Moderate Flood Stage: 37
Flood Stage: 33
Action Stage: 31.5

As of 8:30 AM this morning, the Missouri River was at 44.5 ft. at Brownville, which is already above its historical crest of 44.3 feet set in 1993. When/if it reaches 45.5 ft, the Cooper Nuclear Station will shut down — 12 inches.

It looks like they’re forecasting the level to drop — I wonder if that takes into account the Army Corps’ plan to release more water from the Gavins Point Dam today?

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Report: 48 of 65 U.S. nuclear stations leaked radioactive tritium

“The public health and safety impact of this is next to zero. This is a public confidence issue.” — Nuclear Energy Institute’s Tony Pietrangelo

“Radiation is actually good for you.” — Nuclear physicist and part-time brain surgeon Ann Coulter

Report: 75% of U.S. nukes sites leaked radioactive tritium

The Associated Press found that 48 of the 65 power stations in the U.S. had reported leaking tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) records blamed many of the leaks on corroded buried piping. At 37 of the sites, contamination to groundwater exceeded the federal drinking water standard.

While no public water supplies are known to have been contaminated, the leaks did reach the wells of homes in Illinois and Minnesota. In New Jersey, tritium was found in a discharge canal feeding Barnegat Bay… In 2007, cesium-137 was found along with tritium at the Fort Calhoun plant near Omaha, Nebraska. The Indian Point nuclear site near New York City was found to have leaked Strontium-90 two years before that.

And the problem is growing — as the AP notes:

The number and severity of the leaks has been escalating, even as federal regulators extend the licenses of more and more reactors across the nation.

List of Power Reactor Units

U.S. Commercial Nuclear Power Reactors - Years of Operation

I’m glad to see that Colorado doesn’t have a nuclear reactor.