OPPD Declares Notification of Unusual Event
June 6, 2011
As mentioned last week, the rising Missouri River waters have reached a level where OPPD is declaring a Notification of Unusual Event (NOUE) at its Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station. According to projections from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the river level at the plant site is expected to reach 1,004 feet above mean sea level later this week, and is expected to remain above that level for more than one month. OPPD notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and emergency management agencies in Nebraska and Iowa of the declaration.
A NOUE is the least-serious of four emergency classifications that are standard in the U.S. nuclear industry. Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station will not move out of this emergency classification until it is confident the water will remain below the 1,004-foot level.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission notes that a Notification of Unusual Event indicates events are in process or have occurred which indicate potential impacts to the plant. No release of radioactive material requiring offsite response or monitoring has occurred or is expected.
Fort Calhoun was in safe shutdown mode since early April for refueling the plant, and remains in that condition. In addition to the existing flood-protection at the plant, OPPD employees and contractors have built earth berms and sandbagged around the switchyards and additional buildings on site. They also are filling water-filled berms around the plant and other major buildings on site, have staged additional diesel fuel inside the Protected Area and are building additional overhead power lines to provide another option for power for the plant’s administration building, Training Center and one of its warehouses.