Sunday, June 26, 2011

US nuclear plant flooded - power cut

The river Missouri is now totally surrounding the threatened nuclear plant of Fort Calhoun (Nebraska, USA) after flood containment walls (berms) collapsed today. 

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) claims that inspectors in the plant when the flooding happened have confirmed that the water had impact in the planned reactor or spent pool cool shut down. But considering how much more worried are authorities about saying anything that could create any form of scare or damage the reputation of the nuclear industry, I am skeptic and hence worried. 

In any case it is clear that in this case, unlike in Fukushima (now admitted to be the worst industrial disaster ever, no matter what lies they said at first), the technicians had time to prepare for the problem. Hope this is enough. 

Source: Action 3 News (via Energy News).

Important Update:  the transformers providing electricity to the plant are flooded, so the reactors are being kept cool only with generators. As far as I know there was a lot of combustible stored in case something like this happened but there is danger if the buildings where the cooling pumps are are flooded, according to what has surfaced these tense days.

Sources: Victoria Advocate, NYT (all via Energy News).

Update: I'm definitively taking the BBC out of my list of news sites: this potentially critical incident is just not happening at Cameron's outlet. The BBC used to be "god" now it's not even worth reading anymore.

Update: video of mostly NRC chief speaking to the press and saying like "all is ok... I hope". But there are a few images of the outside of the power plant and we can briefly see the flooded transformer at about half of the film:

Update (Jun 27): some 100 gallons (roughly 500 liters) of combustible were spilled to the river as well from the threatened nuclear plant.

In a totally distinct but also nuclear incident Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory (New Mexico) had to be evacuated because of threat of uncontrolled fires.

Update: external power has been connected but it's not yet an all clear, as the flood continues and the berm has not been repaired. Water entered  the turbine building but allegedly this poses no real risk (HuffPost).


  1. A lot will depend where the generators are. After Katrina, they started elevating a lot of their generators to keep them from being flooded out. Most places they are at grade level.

  2. I wish I knew. The information on the flooding of the plant is also confuse. Guess we'll have to wait. I just hope to be falling into alarmism.


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