It is being reported that a Missouri River flood berm protecting a nuclear power plant 20 miles from Omaha, Nebraska collapsed early on Sunday. Federal authorities have said the nuclear plant is in no danger.
CNN reported that “some sort of machinery” came into contact with the flood berm, which punctured it and caused it to deflate. As well as the berm, floodgates and other barriers, including sandbags, have been put in place to protect the plant.
The breach happened at the Fort Colhoun Station. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said the plant was shut down in early April to be refuelled and there is no water reported inside the plant itself. The Missouri River level is not expected to reach over the level the plant was designed to cater for. Federal inspectors were on site at the nuclear plant with the berm collapsed around 1:30am.
Up to 2 feet of water is reported to be on the site of the 478 megawatt nuclear plant, which is run by the Omaha Public Power District. They have said the nuclear plant will not be reactivated until the flood recedes.
The flooding has not affected the reactor shutdown cooling process, or the cooling of spent fuel, although the electricity supply was cut after flood water encircled the main power transformers. Emergency generators powered the plant on Sunday until power was reconnected on Sunday afternoon.
Rainfall in the upper Missouri River basin during just in the past few weeks has been close to a normal year’s worth, and snowmelt from the mountains has been 140% of normal, because of the amount of snow that fell over winter this year.
Image CC licensed by USACEpublications: Flooding along the Missouri River, Nebraska – June 2011