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!

British government emails show a PR campaign to play down Fukushima disaster ☢

The government last week confirmed plans for eight new nuclear stations in England and Wales.

Released emails reveal that the British government launched a PR campaign specifically to play down the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The business and energy departments approached British energy companies like EDF, Areva and Westinghouse to come up with a plan to prevent the nuclear situation at Fukushima Daichi from doing damage to plans for new nuclear stations. The emails, which the Guardian got a hold of, show a fear of the “anti-nuclear chaps and chapesses,” as one official put it. They were particularly concerned about what comparisons to Chernobyl might do to the public image of the nuclear energy industry. View the emails here. (AP Photograph.)

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

From NOAA.gov — 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?

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

12:00 PM: Missouri River reaches major flood stage at Nebraska City, NE

Nebraska City is between the two nuclear plants. It’s over 60 miles south of Fort Calhoun and about 30 miles north of the Cooper Nuclear Plant.

Missouri River reaches major flood stage

Nebraska City, Neb. — According to the National Weather Service, the Missouri River at Nebraska City reached 27.06 feet as of 12 p.m. on June 21. Until now the Missouri River has been in a moderate flood stage. The current level puts the river at a major flood stage. The record level is listed at 27.2 feet. The forecast for the river shows a prediction of 27.3 feet at around midnight. Flood stage is 18 feet.

Missouri River flooding update: Fort Calhoun and Cooper Nuclear Station

There isn’t much news this morning, which is not necessarily a bad thing at all. There will be rain.

Any effects on river levels from more water being released from upstream dams should be evident today or tomorrow. Yesterday Cooper Nuclear Station missed shutting down its reactor by only 18 inches. Fort Calhoun has been shut down since April — but both plants still have to cool their spent fuel rods whether they’re running or not. And we’ve all learned from Fukushima how problematic the spent fuel rods can be.

The biggest problem being reported today is that sand is running low in communities along the Missouri River:

During the next few days, the river is expected to rise as much as 5 to 7 feet above flood stage in much of Nebraska and Iowa, and as much as 10 feet over flood stage in parts of Missouri. It could stay above flood stage into August.

The Army Corps of Engineers is monitoring the sand supply, said Jud Kneuvean, chief of emergency management for the corps’ Kansas City District. He said a ton of sand produces about 60 sandbags. Sand also is piled along weakened areas of levees to prevent seepage.

Related posts: Continue reading

Missouri River flooding: 1-29 closures (near both of Nebraska’s nuclear plants)

From the Iowa DOT:

But look at a close up — the road closures are adjacent to both of Nebraska’s nuclear reactors at Fort Calhoun and Brownville (Cooper Nuclear Station):

The FAA restricted air space over both plants and now the interstate is closed near both plants.

Related:

“The crisis has renewed concern in other countries about the safety of atomic power”

The crisis has renewed concern in other countries about the safety of atomic power. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel said it represented a turning point for the world. She said that safety standards at her own country’s nuclear power stations would now be reviewed. In the United States, Senator Joe Lieberman said Washington needed to put the brakes on the development of nuclear power plants until lessons were learned from what had happened in Japan.

BBC News – LIVE: Japan earthquake