Jul 02

Levee Intentionally Blown Up Along Missouri River (KETV, July 1, 2011):

LOVELAND, Iowa — Authorities are investigating an intentional breach in a levee near Desoto Bend.

Pottawattamie County officials said a half-mile stretch of the Vanmann #30 levee was mechanically excavated and then lowered by using explosives. The private levee is just north of the Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge, northwest of Honey Creek.

So far, emergency management officials said they’ve seen no damage as a result of the levee breach, but they have fielded plenty of phone calls about it.

Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Theulen said he was alerted Friday morning that the levee may have been in the process of being intentionally breached. About 20 minutes later, officials said they received calls from people wanting to know why levees were being blown up. One caller claimed to have witnessed the explosion.

Pottawattamie County officials said no government entity had anything to do with the detonation, and they did not have advance notice from the people responsible for the breach.

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Jul 01

Fukushima Spews, Los Alamos Burns, Vermont Rages & We Almost Lost Nebraska (Hawaii Daily News, June, 29, 2011):

Humankind is now threatened by the simultaneous implosion, explosion, incineration, courtroom contempt and drowning of its most lethal industry.

We know only two things for certain:  worse is yet to come, and those in charge are lying about it—at least to the extent of what they actually know, which is nowhere near enough.

Indeed, the assurances from the nuke power industry continue to flow like the floodwaters now swamping the Missouri Valley heartland.

But major breakthroughs have come from a Pennsylvania Senator and New York’s Governor on issues of evacuation and shut-down.  And a public campaign for an end to loan guarantees could put an end to the US industry once and for all.

FUKUSHIMA: The bad news continues to bleed from Japan with no end in sight.  The “light at the end of the tunnel” is an out-of-control radioactive freight train, headed to the core of an endangered planet.

Widespread internal radioactive contamination among Japanese citizens around Fukushima has now been confirmed.

Two whales caught some 650 kilometers from the melting reactors have shown intense radiation.

Plutonium, the deadliest substance known to our species, has been found dangerously far from the site.

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Jun 30


Added: 28.06.2011

Meet one of the large number of safety systems:

The Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant Bucket Brigade: Nuclear Workers Have To Carry Fuel Cans To Keep Water Pumps Running

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Jun 28

Nuclear Plant’s Vital Equipment Dry, Officials Say (New York Times, June 27, 2011):

FORT CALHOUN, Neb. — When safety regulators arrive for a tour of a nuclear plant, the operators usually give the visitors a helmet, safety glasses and earplugs. When Gregory B. Jaczko, chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, got to the Fort Calhoun plant on Monday morning, the Omaha Public Power District offered him a life jacket.

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Jun 27


An aerial view of the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant in eastern Nebraska, surrounded by Missouri River flood waters on June 24.

Waters Encircle Nuclear Plant (Wall Street Journal, June 27, 2011):

A protective berm holding back floodwaters from a Nebraska nuclear power plant collapsed early Sunday after it was accidentally torn, surrounding containment buildings and key electrical equipment with Missouri River overflow.

The berm’s collapse allowed floodwaters to wash around the main electrical transformers. As a result, emergency diesel power generators were started. Later in the day, power was restored.

The NRC’s Mr. Dricks said temperature monitors were working properly and temperatures of key parts of the nuclear power plant were normal. Water has not seeped into any of the containment structures, he said.

Even when in shutdown mode, a nuclear plant requires electricity to keep key components cool in order to avoid any degradation or melting of the core that could result in the release of radiation.

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Jun 27

Flood berm bursts at Nebraska nuclear plant (CNN, June 27, 2011):

A water-filled berm protecting a nuclear power plant in Nebraska from rising floodwaters collapsed Sunday, according to a spokesman, who said the plant remains secure.

Some sort of machinery came in contact with the berm, puncturing it and causing the berm to deflate, said Mike Jones, a spokesman for the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD), which owns the Fort Calhoun plant.

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Jun 27

Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant: Flood Seeps Into Turbine Building At Nebraska Nuke Station (Huffington Post, June 27, 2011):

OMAHA — Missouri River floodwater seeped into the turbine building at a nuclear power plant near Omaha on Monday, but plant officials said the seepage was expected and posed no safety risk because the building contains no nuclear material.

An 8-foot-tall, water-filled temporary berm protecting the plant collapsed early Sunday. Vendor workers were at the plant Monday to determine whether the 2,000 foot berm can be repaired.

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Jun 27

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

Pictures of the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant north of Omaha, Neb., show it encircled by the swollen waters of the Missouri River, which reached a height of nearly 1,007 feet above sea level at the plant yesterday.

The plant’s defenses include new steel gates and other hard barriers protecting an auxiliary building with vital reactor controls, and a water-filled berm 8 feet tall that encircles other parts of the plant. Both systems are designed to hold back floodwaters reaching 1,014 feet above sea level. Additional concrete barriers and permanent berms, more sandbags and another power line into the plant have been added. The plant was shut down in April for refueling and will remain so until the flood threat is passed.

“Today the plant is well positioned to ride out the current extreme Missouri River flooding while keeping the public safe,” Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Victor Dricks said on an agency blog this week.

But a year ago, those new defenses were not in place, and the plant’s hard barriers could have failed against a 1,010-foot flood, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission contends in a yearlong inspection and enforcement action against the plant’s operator, the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD).

The NRC in Action at Fort Calhoun (Monthly Review, June 27, 2011):

The Union of Concerned Scientists often complains about Nuclear Regulatory Commission inaction — the agency’s failure to enforce its regulations prohibiting unmonitored and uncontrolled releases of radioactively contaminated water, the agency’s tolerance of four dozen reactors operating in violation of fire protection regulations, and so on.

Today, we commend the NRC in action.

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