Thursday, June 23, 2011
Parts of Nebraska Nuclear Facility Already Under 2 Feet of Water ... But - So Far - Emergency Flood Walls Are Protecting Electrical Equipment
ABC news reports that there is already 2 feet of water at some parts of the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant:
Although the Fort Calhoun plant ... is surrounded by an eight foot tall and 16 foot wide protective berm, two feet of water have already made its way to several areas of the Fort Calhoun plant, but authorities say there is no immediate danger at either plant.
U.S. nuclear regulators say two Nebraska nuclear power plants have protected critical equipment from the rising waters of the Missouri River even though flooding has reached the grounds of one of them.
Parts of the grounds are already under two feet of water as the swollen Missouri overflows its banks. But the Omaha Public Power District, which owns the plant, has built flood walls around the reactor, transformers and the plant's electrical switchyard, the NRC said."They've surrounded all the vital equipment with berms," Dricks said.An 8-foot-tall, water-filled berm, 16 feet wide at its base, surrounds the reactor containment structure and auxiliary buildings, the NRC says. The plant has brought in an additional emergency diesel generator, water pumps, sandbags and firefighting equipment as well, according to regulators.
The 2 feet of water is in areas like parking lots, not within the reactor building itself.
The Omaha World-Herald notes that the river is expected to rise an additional 4-5 inches in the very near future at the Fort Calhoun and Cooper nuclear plants:
Fort Calhoun's chief nuclear officer Dave Bannister says that the river would have to rise another 3 1/2 feet above where it stands now to pose a danger to the reactor. See this and this.
On Tuesday, the Army Corps of Engineers announced that releases from Gavins Point would increase another 7 percent to 160,000 cubic feet per second.
That will add about 4 to 5 inches in the river’s level at Fort Calhoun and Cooper Nuclear Stations, according to information from the corps and the National Weather Service...
The NRC has added two inspectors and a branch chief to the permanent two-person inspection crew at Fort Calhoun station, said Lara Uselding, spokeswoman. They are providing around-the-clock oversight there.
Hopefully, no dams will break, and the emergency measures will work.
Here are photos of the Aqua Dam installed outside the Fort Calhoun plant courtesy of the official OPPD Flood and Outage blog:
June 10th (AquaDam protecting the Administration Building at Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station):
(Click the above image, and then zoom in ... you can see a man walking across the bridge on the left side of the picture to get a sense of scale.)
June 15th (AquaDam protecting the nuclear station):
The area in red shows where one writer (Tom Burnett) believes the dry cask units are located.
Here is a clearer version of the photo (click image for larger version):