NRC Event at flooded Ft. Calhoun nuke plant: Both Fire Suppression Pumps are inoperable — Water levels too high for surveillance tests

Published: July 25th, 2011 at 7:04 pm ET
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Event Notification Report for July 25, 2011, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Operations Center:

Event Number: 47088
Facility: FORT CALHOUN
Event Date: 07/22/2011
Event Time: 08:30 [CDT]
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY
10 CFR Section: 50.72(b)(3)(ii)(B) – UNANALYZED CONDITION

Event Text

FIRE SUPRESSION PUMPS INOPERABLE

“Both Fire Suppression Pumps are not operable because the required monthly surveillance tests will not be completed for June and July. The surveillance tests will be completed when flood waters recede to below 1004 feet MSL. The current river level is 1006.3 feet. Both fire pumps, FP-1A and FP-1B, are available and lined up for use. Other options are also available to provide a means of backup fire water supply that include:

– Water Plant Pumps DW-8A and DW-8B aligned to the Fire Protection (FP) system.
– Temporary connection to the fire protection water distribution system by the Fort Calhoun Fire Truck that is staged on site or any other fire pumper truck via fire hydrant FP-3G.
– Admin Building/Training Center fire hydrant via fire hoses or water truck. This supply is from Blair water system and FP storage tank west of Highway 75.
– Drafting from the Missouri River via temporary pumps.”

The licensee notified the NRC Resident Inspector.

h/t M Curie

Published: July 25th, 2011 at 7:04 pm ET
By

20 comments

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  1. ‘Event’ reported at Ft. Calhoun nuke plant: “Potential flooding issue in the Intake Structure” — “There is one penetration of concern” that could impact water pumps June 17, 2011
  2. Many containers of fuel to power pumps were washed away after breach at Ft. Calhoun nuke plant June 27, 2011
  3. May 16 report foreshadowed yesterday’s “event” at Calhoun nuke plant: Flooding of Intake Structure could jeopardize abilty to cool reactor June 17, 2011
  4. Miltary helicopters looking for new signs of trouble at flooded Ft. Calhoun nuke plant July 10, 2011
  5. 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 June 25, 2011

20 comments to NRC Event at flooded Ft. Calhoun nuke plant: Both Fire Suppression Pumps are inoperable — Water levels too high for surveillance tests

  • AkDave AkDave

    All is fine tho! just ask….

  • acid Lab acid Lab

    bucket brigade… deploy!

  • Ariana

    You know, they won’t tell us anything until it’s way too late…

  • arclight arclight

    “Water levels too high for surveillance tests” err! does that mean they cant see it?? no remote controlled fishy things in the armoury then? they can borrow my nephews and stick a camera on it if they want?
    or cant they get near it for some other reason?

  • Nukeholio

    The ship is sinking…

  • alasanon

    The EPA Radnet levels posted elsewhere have been high in Omaha. They better not do a Fukushima on Nebraska!!! :/

  • patb2009

    if the fire pumps are down, i expect the cooling pumps and emergency pumps are also down.

    how the stored fuel pool will get circulation back up once the river drops, i have no clue.

    • It is my understanding that the spent fuel pools are currently being cooled using generators because I don’t think electrical power was ever re-established at Fort Calhoun after flooding.

      I think they have insufficient generators to adequately fuel everything and they decided to let the fire pumps stay down because the plant was flooded (and the lines may be shot too).

      But they had to report the event by law, so they did.

      I’ve been trying to get people to pay attention–the EPA is showing high levels (relatively speaking) of beta in Omaha and nowhere else unless elsewhere is under the jet stream (which is now in Canada mostly).

      Omaha should not have 179 beta!!!! (unless under the crap from Fukushima brought in my the jet stream)

      Omaha should not have 179 beta when every place around it is much lower or “under review”

      I think they are having trouble keeping the fuel pools adequately cooled and they are having hydrogen buildups, which are vented every couple of days (more frequently recently).

      • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

        Hi majia,
        where do you find the info (179 beta in Omaha)? And do you happen to know what the “normal” readings are (if such thing exists)?
        Somebody here stated a while ago workers were now wearing “moon-suits”. Do you know anything about it? thanks!

        • I check the EPA’s daily real time monitoring to get the beta levels. I check around 9:30 am Pacific time

          https://cdxnode64.epa.gov/radnet-public/monitorView.do

          I record the data daily on my blog

          “normal levels” in a place like Phoenix range from 13 to 40 for beta unless the jet stream is near

          Midwest cities near Omaha can be as low as 0 and have very low averages for beta (19-30) unless the jet stream is near (in my 2 months of watching)

          I heard reports of people at Calhoun dressed in space suits from one youtube video but I have no idea if this is in fact true

      • Thanks for your observation Majia. This is alarming news. Please elaborate on 179 beta in comparison to the lower reads. Also what is 179 beta? Sorry for my impatience. I am also now looking up my Google!
        In the midst of all this see what the Japanese IAEA boss is making us all wise:
        http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/nuclear-power-to-grow-despite-fukushima-iaea-head-says-after-meeting-kan

        • It would be obscene if Japan’s government were somehow blackmailed into building more new plants.

          What are they using as blackmail? No one knows how to get that plant under control, is my understanding.

          Beta is a type of radiation. Gamma is like light, alpha are particles, and beta is high energy electrons or positrons.

          Beta levels are detectable like gamma. Alpha is tougher and timelier to detect unless in very, very high quantities.

          Gamma levels have ranges and are just more difficult to evaluate by somone like me.

          Beta are clear and are easily compared with background, if you know what that is.

          I have a rough estimate of background for Phoenix, which is relatively high because of the plant and possibly above-air testing in 50s and 60s).

          So, if 30 is background here then 180 is 6 times background. During Fukushima we got above 300 and maybe higher in Phoenix.

          Still, anything 100 plus is HIGH and I pay attention.

          • The google search lead to this CACHE:
            http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:feocE2pgiisJ:www.epa.gov/japan2011/understand/beta.html+beta+rays+what+are+they&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=in&client=firefox-a&source=www.google.co.in

            Beta particles are subatomic particles ejected from the nucleus of some radioactive atoms. They are equivalent to electrons. The difference is that beta particles originate in the nucleus and electrons originate outside the nucleus.
            Now what radioactive atoms eject these in this context?
            What conditions lead to beta particle emission?

            Beta particle emission occurs when the ratio of neutrons to protons in the nucleus is too high. In this case, an excess neutron transforms into a proton and an electron. The proton stays in the nucleus and the electron is ejected energetically.

            This process decreases the number of neutrons by one and increases the number of protons by one. Since the number of protons in the nucleus of an atom determines the element, the conversion of a neutron to a proton actually changes the radionuclide to a different element.

            Often, gamma ray emission accompanies the emission of a beta particle. When the beta particle ejection doesn’t rid the nucleus of the extra energy, the nucleus releases the remaining excess energy in the form of a gamma photon.

            The decay of technetium-99, which has too many neutrons to be stable, is an example of beta decay. A neutron in the nucleus converts to a proton and a beta particle. The nucleus ejects the beta particle and some gamma radiation. The new atom retains the same mass number, but the number of protons increases to 44. The atom is now a ruthenium atom.

            Other examples of beta emitters are phosphorous-32, tritium (H-3), carbon-14, strontium-90, and lead-210.
            Now Fort Calhoun may emit all these dangerous betas!
            Thats my worry when you say that the 179 beta reading is high compared to very low values elsewhere.
            That is why I want your data badly with your finds.
            Thanks Majia for the warning.
            I am waiting for further news.
            Here is another website which tells the mechanism of attack on the nucleus of our body cells by electron tracks of the beta particles- Gofman’s great work:
            Also on the web:
            http://www.ratical.org/radiation/CNR/RIC/chp19.txt
            Dose stated blandly as so many microsieverts/hour sounds harmless. From the discussion here you will note that dose is a meaningless concept when the betas attack us!

          • Re beta levels in Omaha: Which radionuclides are *beta* emitters?

            There are many *beta* emitters. You can find fact sheets for several of
            them at the Radionuclides page:

            * tritium
            * cobalt-60
            * strontium-90
            * technetium-99
            * iodine-129 and -131
            * cesium-137
            All US nuclear reactors are reported to be leaking tritium.
            But beta readings at Omaha may be due to any of the above radionuclides.

        • odylan

          I have just watched a news report from RT’s Sean Thomas this morning about the IAEA boss’s visit to Fukushima and the increasing suicide rate in Japan. I imagine it will probably appear as a video on RT’s website in the next day or two as they usually do.
          People who have sensibly evacuated themselves from hot spots for the sake of their own and their children’s health are now being branded as ‘traitors’ by other Japanese.
          The suicide rate amongst people who live in the uncertain world just outside the exclusion zone is increasing, particularly amongst farmers.

          • Heart breaking.

            Why are not the people of Japan outraged?

            It could be them next?

            Don’t people realize that they are somewhere in the line up?

  • Alex2245

    Toxic Issues And Chemicals That Disrupt The Thyroid – EPA, Government No Help

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXIRYjpU0Hs