Nebraska Flooding Threaten Nuclear Power Plant, Evacuations Ordered

Nebraska Flooding Threaten Nuclear Power Plant, Evacuations Ordered

March 15, 2019 – Mary Greeley News – The Nebraska Public Power District issued a Notice of “Unusual Event” on Friday after the Missouri River reached 42.5 feet. The Cooper Nuclear Station will continue to operate. At 7:30 a.m., the river was at 43 feet and was a foot away from overtopping the levee at Brownville.

Nebraska Public Power District’s Cooper Nuclear Station, an electric power plant in southeast Nebraska, declared a “Notification of Unusual Event” at 5:46 a.m. Friday, March 15, when the Missouri River reached 899.05 feet at the plant.

The declaration was anticipated for several days by the power plant’s operators, who closely tracked the river’s steady increase in elevation due to the combination of snow melt, frozen ground, heavy rain conditions in Nebraska, and releases of water from upstream reservoirs in South Dakota.

Nebraska Flooding Threaten Nuclear Power Plant, Evacuations Ordered

Becker said that if the Missouri reaches the levels projected by the National Weather Service this weekend, the utility will have to declare an alert and take Cooper Nuclear Station off line.

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The plan’s procedures dictate when the Missouri River’s water level reaches 42.5 feet, or greater than 899 mean sea level, a notification of unusual event is declared. Plant personnel regularly monitor the river levels.

Nebraska Flooding Threaten Nuclear Power Plant, Evacuations Ordered

Cooper Nuclear Station (CNS) is a boiling water reactor (BWR) type nuclear power plant located on a 1,251-acre (506 ha) site near Brownville, Nebraska between Missouri River mile markers 532.9 and 532.5, on Nebraska’s border with Missouri. It is the largest single-unit electrical generator in Nebraska.

If the river rises a foot higher, to 43.5 feet, workers will start barricading internal doorways and taking other precautions.

Flooding in parts of the Midwest has left one man dead, forced a National Weather Service office to evacuate and threatens a Nebraska dam and nuclear power plant as heavy rains mixed with a melting snowpack to swell waterways to historic levels.

Officials in Boone County, downstream from the dam, also warned of the “imminent failure” of the dam, Boone County News reported.
There are multiple “boils” being reported at the dam.

A boil happens when water escapes upward to the surface of a soil layer due to pressure. … Boils can be found under dams or levees and can be very dangerous because it’s a sign a water-retaining structure is failing. Boils occur when there is an imbalance in water levels in a dam or levee.

Nebraska Flooding Threaten Nuclear Power Plant, Evacuations Ordered

Both agencies are warning impacted residents to seek higher ground.

A portion of Union Dike in Valley, Nebraska, reportedly failed Friday, triggering a flash flood emergency. Residents in the area were urged to evacuate, including the National Weather Service Omaha, which issued the flood emergency.

NWS Hastings will take over forecasting duties for the office.

In Nebraska, a utility company placed sandbags around a nuclear power plant Thursday as the Missouri River continued to rise, the Omaha World-Journal said in a separate report.

Mark Becker, spokesman for the Nebraska Public Power District, told the newspaper that if the river rises to 45.5 feet this weekend, as projected by the NWS, the Cooper Nuclear Station, which accounts for 35 percent of NPPD’s power, will have to be shut down.

Thursday morning, the hydroelectric plant at the Spencer Dam on the Niobrara River was lost when the dam broke and a large ice floe jammed a hole in the building.

Nebraska Flooding Threaten Nuclear Power Plant, Evacuations Ordered
 
Nebraska Flooding Threaten Nuclear Power Plant, Evacuations Ordered
 
Nebraska Flooding Threaten Nuclear Power Plant, Evacuations Ordered
 
Nebraska Flooding Threaten Nuclear Power Plant, Evacuations Ordered
 
Nebraska Flooding Threaten Nuclear Power Plant, Evacuations Ordered


Mary Greeley News
www.marygreeley.com

credit: in part with https://www.omaha.com/news/nebraska/cooper-nuclear-station-near-brownville-sandbagging-as-missouri-river-rises/article_ab98ece2-cd55-5fd7-8b26-db197ca0e52e.html