8-month-old NRC letter: At 1,010 ft water would enter Ft. Calhoun’s auxiliary building, shorting power and submerging pumps; Could then have a station blackout with core damage within 15-18 hours — Water now at 1,007 ft

Published: June 25th, 2011 at 10:35 am ET


A Nuclear Plant’s Flood Defenses Trigger a Yearlong Regulatory Confrontation, New York Times, June 24, 2011:

[The water level at Ft. Calhoun nuclear plant] reached a height of nearly 1,007 feet above sea level at the plant yesterday. […]

The NRC responded in its October 2010 letter that once flooding reached 1,004 feet, water would have entered the plant and the ability of emergency workers to move around the site would “significantly degrade.” […]

At 1,010 feet, water would begin to enter the auxiliary building, “shorting power and submerging pumps. The plant could then experience a station blackout with core damage estimated within 15 to 18 hours,” under a worst-case scenario, the NRC said. […]

“They also ordered us to revise our policies and procedures and make whatever changes were necessary to bring the design basis up to 1,014. We did so, and we believe we are now in compliance with the NRC and are awaiting a final inspection.” -Omaha Public Power District spokesman Michael Jones

Published: June 25th, 2011 at 10:35 am ET


Related Posts

  1. Auxiliary building at Ft. Calhoun surrounded by water after berm failure — NRC letter said if water enters auxilary building, could have station blackout with core damage in hours June 26, 2011
  2. 100% chance of reactor core damage if floodwaters went above 1010 ft. at Ft. Calhoun nuke plant, NRC said in 2010 — River now around 1,007 ft. and expected to rise June 27, 2011
  3. NRC in 2010: Major flood could cause core damage at Ft. Calhoun nuke plant– Cited for second most serious category of violation June 21, 2011
  4. Reuters: Just 6 more inches of water could submerge NJ nuclear plant’s pump to cool spent fuel pool — 25 hours to boiling without more coolant — New footage of flooding nearby (VIDEO) October 30, 2012
  5. Water level rose almost 3 feet during weekend at Brownville gauge near Cooper nuke plant June 20, 2011

45 comments to 8-month-old NRC letter: At 1,010 ft water would enter Ft. Calhoun’s auxiliary building, shorting power and submerging pumps; Could then have a station blackout with core damage within 15-18 hours — Water now at 1,007 ft

  • I don’t even know how to respond to this unfolding disaster. It’s just like the GOM. Remember all of the oil spills after the GOM? I can hardly get my head around Fukushima and now this new train wreck in motion…. Where does one go? How does one cope?

    There is no way these dams are going to hold out all summer short of a miracle from existence. Even if they do, the rising water level is three feet from core damage!!!

    I am trying to have more gratitude for nature and existence, knowing it can change in the blink of an eye. Half of my prayers are actually apologies for what humankind has one to this creation.

    My heart goes out to all.

  • jump-ball jump-ball

    Port Calhoun.

    • Ha! A new way to run nuclear power plants, eh? Underwater!

      “Underwater Nuclear Disaster Underway in Midwest?”


      Yes, this is a re-post of a re-post, but admin has listed quotes from the same NYT article three times and the above link is relevant, as it includes facts about the US government officially declaring a state of emergency (on Wednesday June 22nd) in the two Nebraska counties with the nuclear plants threatened by the Missouri River flood waters. And where in the NYT article do they even mention this officially declared state of emergency? Precisely no where.

    • “Nuclear Regulatory Commission says spent fuel casks near flood water pose no threat”


      * Following an earlier report published by The Iowa Independent about flooding at the nuclear facilities, questions were raised about the placement of dry cask storage of spent nuclear fuel rods with some questioning if the facilities storing these rods were within flood protection barriers.

      * “They are not within the flood protection barrier,” Dricks said. “There’s no reason for them to be. Those are large, sealed canisters that are bolted down — no risk with the floodwaters.”

      Phew, at least there is “no risk” from the flood waters. Everyone feeling safer now?

  • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

    Hi admin,
    I thank you a lot for feeding us with news. This headline and excerpt of the article has made three headlines now here on enenews, after I (and maybe also others) posted the link a while ago.
    I would suggest, if there aren’t any new news, we don’t necessarily need a new headline, do we? I’d prefer to keep the older thread to the same subject open for longer.

    • admin

      Usually the format here is to make a post for each piece of information that adds to what is known about the ongoing nuclear situations around the world.

  • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

    Update: by the way. The article was published on June 24th, and it says:
    “…Missouri River, which reached a height of nearly 1,007 feet above sea level at the plant yesterday.”
    “Yesterday” means 23rd of June.
    Since then, the levels have dropped more than 2 feet:
    I don’t want to downplay anything, and I’m sure levels will rise again, but…you know.

  • Elenin Velikovsky Elenin Velikovsky

    it seems we need some local Omaha camera-sleuths to
    fix some telephoto views for when the big tsunami blasts across the plain. It would need to be, or rather they, the many
    hidden cameras would need to be secret, not like tepco.
    The Big Blast of the Surfin’ calendar.
    you can keep your Norf Shore, your Mavericks, the only
    break this year is Port Calhoun….you wanted Rad? well
    this place is da BOMB! Hang Ten, Dood!

  • BetaFlare

    NRC the liars: “core damage within 15-18 h…” Fukushima first one took just 1,5 hours.

    Another issue: is there no gigantic earth moving equipment in whole USA!?? None – when the blk business is to sink all business, depop the planet…

    Anyways Thks to Admin! …Typically I last under 18hrs with my irritating and hood-corrosive comments – on MSM forums before meltdown err ban.

  • VIDEO Ft Calhoun: OPPD Warns Workers to Avoid Flood Waters!
    June 24, 2011 No Comments
    .. stay clear of the discharge that is occurring. For health and safety reasons, all individuals are cautioned to avoid contact with any flood water…

    • Wow. This appears to be confirmation that radioactive releases are taking place into the flood waters of the Missouri River. Why else the warnings?!

      • I have a tendency to wander to words called, cover story !

        Wonder why ?

        : |

      • Terranigma1 Terranigma1

        Never thought I would see the day when Lake Erie (which caught on fire from so much pollution) could be deemed one of the healthiest waterways/systems. Lake Erie perch and walleye soon to be delicacies!

        Thanks for the tip on eating miso soup, which I finally tasted at a Japanese restaurant. Unfortunately, the soup was so salty that I almost barfed and I was only able to eat some of the tofu floating around and drink a few spoonfuls. That odd looking greenish black stuff floating in the bottom of the soup pot had to be mold or seaweed. I only hope that the seaweed was pre-Fuku and not from the Pacific… 🙁

    • Here’s a link to the original press release on the OPPD site:


    • miked

      Thanks to enenews for keeping the coverage going on these nuclear plant situations.

      I have to point out the obvious here, though: They are talking about floodwater entering a “sewage lagoon” and a “sanitary wastewater lift station.” They’re dealing with sewage and sanitary wastewater… not, as far as I can tell, anything having to do with radioactivity.

      I assume the plant has its own sewage treatment facility. So, if floodwater is getting in there and mixing with sewage, the warnings to employees have everything to do with potential bacterial contamination and nothing to do with nuclear safety.

      This situation is scary enough, let’s avoid jumping at shadows.



  • Mats

    Hmm, “sewage lagoon” “sanitary wastewater”
    “sanitary lagoons”

    I don´t know much about wastewater management in the US, but that sounds to me like a problem of biological and not radioactive Contamination.

    • Yes, that’s why it is clever of OPPD to make reference to such in their article. As xdrfox said above, the words “cover story” do spring to mind. It certainly SMELLS like that to me (or is that just the “officially and most definitely not radioactive” sewage that is flowing into the Missouri River I can smell?).

    • An old saying comes to mind (based on the OPPD press release) relative to every single piece of news coming from every single source that is a part of the nuclear mafia (including OPPD):

      “If it looks like shit and smells like shit it probably is shit.”

      All that are part of the nuclear mafia are not trustworthy in the slightest when it comes to reporting about nuclear anything, in other words. That’s really the fact that everyone needs to remember (as many reading here at ENENEWS certainly do) when examining ANY and ALL news relative to nuclear anything, including the very serious situation at Fort Calhoun.

      • What I know is there are sewage plants and private home sewage tanks all up and down these rivers and in the flood areas that have leached out dozens of miles where sewage is entering the water at many points. Where ever homes are that are not tied into city systems, so all water coming down stream is suspect to having raw sewage in it ! And as the comment says on page …

        “What does this tell us.
        Number one, this press release is very vague. Not only does it not include the information on current radiation levels, but to tell workers to avoid flood waters and post signs, that leads us to conclude that the water at the plant is contaminated.

        We can also conclude that the rising river levels will carry that contamination downstream.”

      • arclight arclight

        unlike the nuclear lobby we dont have to make decisions for legal reasons to minimise costs to our shareholders…we can speak freely with no other agenda but our own…who would you trust to give you the truth if they had it?? not the supporturds of the nuclear mess we are finding ourselves in, i assure everyone cos they have a legal reason to lie/mitigate/minimise the situation…and theyve got the media. project bp last year laid the format for all present and future disasters whether man made, natural or a combination of both….and dont get me started on the financial subtrefuge and illegality!!/rant peace

  • cossack55

    Nothing to fear. The gubment will order the MSM not to report on this disaster, therefor, it will not exist. The MSM will not allow the waters to rise. Thank heavens for the MSM. They already eliminated the radiation in Japan. It was close though.

  • NIOSH Publication No. 94-123:

    Update: NIOSH Warns of Hazards of Flood Cleanup Work

  • Seems there was already a problem and it is coming down the river !!

    Rising Missouri River and Radiation detection
    June 19, 2011
    “Concerned with the possibility of Radiation leaking from the Fort Calhoun Nuclear plant in Nebraska due to flooding by the Missouri River that could contaminate my drinking water I contacted the Treatment plant in Columbia and received some disturbing answers.

    “Uranium activity as far south as Yankton”

    Rapid City, SD– For the past five years, Defenders of the Black Hills, an environmental organization, has been quietly conducting water tests on rivers in the Region. Now their information is compiled in a report being sent to the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association and mayors from towns along the Missouri River.

    Although not an extensive account, due to the high cost of getting an analysis on uranium and other radioactive emissions, the purpose is to show the need for more research on all drinking water sources in order to protect the public.

    Starting with communities along the Grand River in the northern part of the state, the report shows radioactive pollution entering the Missouri River at the mouth of the Grand River. Following that path to the Lower Brule Reservation, the tests also show radioactive contamination in household drinking water. In Yankton, the results taken from the Municipal Building, show the uranium is coming from man-made sources.

    In the western part of the state, nearer to past uranium mining sites, Angostura Reservoir shows high incidences of Thorium, a radioactive decay product of Uranium. In 2006, the SD Department of Environment and Natural Resources reported uranium exceeding the drinking water Maximum Contaminant Level was entering the Cheyenne River at the South Dakota – Wyoming border which would flow into the Angostura Reservoir….

    Wooo !
    I didn’t know !

  • Although I feel that no hard conclusions can be drawn, I am concerned about a potential link across these events.

    2 days ago at zerohedge someone posted a link to a company that specializes in radiation emergencies and it had a hypothetical diagram of Fort Calhoun’s hypothetical radiation dispersion plume…. the link is now down because of “bandwidth problems”. The plume was represented as moving to the north east.

    EPA radnet data have selectively become “under review” in what appear to be relevant areas of Kansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, etc. Someone who knows the area should look at cities relevant in the event there was an accident at a nuclear plant on the Missouri.

    Yesterday all Minnesota EPA radnet cites were under review. Today they are all under review again. Duluth was high (just under 100 beta) 2 days ago.
    Last night Kansas City was under review. Today all at 10:30 Phoenix time all Kansas cities are under review.
    Today Madison and Milwauke, the 2 sites for Wisconsin, are under review.
    In Iowa Mason City is up (55beta) while Des Moines is under review.

    I’m trying to connect whether or not cities in the hypothetical area are the same cities under review at Radnet. https://cdxnode64.epa.gov/radnet-public/monitorView.do

    The Ft Calhoun Red Cross evacuation center was closed and evacuees presumably moved elsewhere. I read that in several media sources. Here is one source http://www.enterprisepub.com/news/flood_coverage_2011/red-cross-shelters-closed-in-fort-calhoun-mo-valley/article_b591e07a-9dc9-11e0-bb3b-0019bb30f31a.html

    This string of data could mean NOTHING at all unusual, but it could also be something very unusual. I just don’t know…

    2 good links on the Fort Calhoon situation

    and this


  • neminis

    Kinda funny/odd, people whining at Admin about ANYTHING (didja miss this site much during the recent outage?!), let alone about the trivial matter of overlap of stories.

    As he has indicated here (above), and from what I’ve observed, he posts updates as new stories. Why would anyone really want it done any other way?! For the sake of continuity of comments?! MEH. This is a news aggregation site with reader comments, not a forum. Hit up ATS and GLP if what you’re wanting is ongoing under-informed speculation and extrapolation into the ultra-negative side of things. (Yeah, we’re never gonna know the full story, but that’s A GIVEN. Feeding each other’s paranoia and beating the “maybe we’re being lied to!” drum doesn’t really add anything valuable to the mix IMO.)

    Thanks, Admin, for what you do and the manner in which you do it.

    • alasanon

      Here, here! I appreciate the site for news from all over & many different sources. Thanks!…
      Now when do we get the new state and EPA quarterly testng results??….
      If they continue to deny us, we will need to file FOIA requests on the dtate because it is being measured, trust me!

  • sorry charlie

    Nuclear energy has always gotten away with lying and failing to report….because we let them! Why don’t the rec’ fines, got to jail…hell they don’t even get a slap on the wrist…so now the norm continues to be lie like hell and cover everything up…do not look for any truth to what the nuke mafia says cause…..they are expected to lie. There is no reason for them to tell the truth!