2011-06-25 00:05:22Officials monitoring rising floodwaters at Nebraska nuclear plants -- CNN
John Hartz
John Hartz

Officials monitoring rising floodwaters at Nebraska nuclear plants

By the CNN Wire Staff
June 23, 2011 2:06 p.m. EDT
(CNN) -- 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.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is confident those safeguards will prevent a disaster at either plant even though the Missouri is expected to remain flooded for several weeks, NRC spokesman Victor Dricks said Thursday.

The Fort Calhoun plant, about 20 miles north of Omaha, was shut down for refueling in April. 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.