Jun 26, 2011

Ft Calhoun Nuke Plant berm fails.

Photo courtesy of ABC News
The collapsing of the berm is a big fucking deal folks. This nuke plant was already in trouble and now this shit. From the Omaha World Herald link:
Floodwaters surrounded several buildings at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station early Sunday morning after a water-filled wall collapsed.

The plant, about 19 miles north of Omaha, remains safe, Omaha Public Power District officials said Sunday afternoon.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is monitoring the Missouri River at the plant, which has been shut down since early April for refueling.

The 2,000-foot berm collapsed about 1:25 a.m. Sunday due to “onsite activities,” OPPD officials said. The Aqua Dam provided supplemental flood protection and was not required under NRC regulations.

“We put up the aqua-berm as additional protection,” said OPPD spokesman Mike Jones. “(The plant) is in the same situation it would have been in if the berm had not been added. We're still within NRC regulations.”

According to the NRC, the berm was eight-feet tall and 16-feet wide at the base. It was designed to provide protection for the plant's "powerblock" for up to six feet of water. Crews will look at whether it can be patched, OPPD officials said.

On Sunday, floodwater surrounded the nuclear plant's main electrical transformers, and power was transferred to emergency diesel generators. 
The local's are buying into the 'storyline' being fed them by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Hey, I am just glad my happy ass doesn't reside anywhere near that nuke plant, because I would be loading up the auto with animals and belongings.

In a bit of irony, the Ft Calhoun nuke plant waged a year long battle against the NRC, to keep from adding protection measures deemed wholly necessary by the NRC to protect the plant from....wait for it... being swamped by flooding from the Missouri river. From the NYT link:
NRC inspectors concluded that at flooding levels above 1,008 feet, the plant "would experience a loss of offsite power and loss of intake structure" and water pumps providing essential cooling water to the plant. In that case, "the plant would be incapable of reaching cold shutdown" with normal operations -- a fundamental safety requirement imposed by the NRC. The commission's Region IV office in Arlington, Texas, issued a notice of violation against the plant on Oct. 6 last year, finding that the issues were of "substantial importance" to the plant's safety.

OPPD challenged the NRC's inspectors' conclusions in a series of conferences before bowing to the commission staff's demands and agreeing to install the additional defenses this year. The AquaDam water berm was installed beginning June 4. 
The berm failed because of human error: On Sunday afternoon, workers accidentally deflated an auxiliary berm at the plant, said Omaha Public Power District spokesman Jeff Hanson. Nice huh? Oh, and there is that little 'unresolved issue' too:
A still-unresolved issue in the dispute is the NRC's contention that OPPD received, but did not properly act on, a warning by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2003. It said high-water threats to the plant should be raised by 3 feet based on a new assessment following severe Missouri River floods in the mid-1990s. "The performance deficiency existed for many years," the NRC said in an Oct. 6, 2010, letter to the Omaha utility. 
Jaysus...the failure of the berm forced the shutdown of all electrical power to the plant..where have we heard of a nuke plant losing it's electricity recently?

I remember...Japan..Fukushima to be exact. We know how well their backup measures worked..or more precisely...failed. We can only hope the same shit doesn't happen at Ft. Calhoun. But don't panic folks..cuz they got it ALLLLLLLLL handled.

Sure they do..of course they do..and the Japanese electric company said the same damn thing in the days following the Tsunami hitting Fukushima.

They lied..oh hell yeah they lied..like a fucking rug.

So, if the locals want to believe everything is under control and just-fucking-fine...go for it people. Because electric companies never lie about conditions at nuclear plants..right?

The latest news is that the NRC head cheese will tour the plant Monday.

From Channel7KETV in Omaha, the condition of the other plant being threatened by flood waters, The Cooper Nuclear Station near Brownville, NE:
The plant, run by the Nebraska Public Power District, is protected by a series of earthen berms. A KETV NewsWatch 7 crew said the river is running about 2.5 feet below the top of the river levee. NPPD officials said the additional berms will protect the plant if the water level rises and additional six feet.

The plant buildings are about 25 yards from the river.

Plant officials said the encapsulated spent fuel rods at the plant, which continues to operate, can withstand being submerged in 50 feet of water for an extended period of time.

They also said the reactor core is protected by six inches of steel-reinforced concrete. Plant officials said the reactor is designed to keep the radiation in and the water out of the vital part of the nuclear station.

Operators at the plant said they have three different back-up plans should the plant lose power.

Jaczko talked briefly to the media and said it appears the utility is doing what it can to mitigate the flooding situation, but was non-committal as to whether the plant is in the clear yet.
Jaysus friggin Christ..a situation ripe as hell for disaster, if not one..possibly two disasters.We are talking about spent fuel rods..and all that shit.

Same crap that went down at Fukushima.

Today's Photo..er..Graphic..ok, Picture.

It's moving day!!!!!!!!!!!!

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