A Nuclear Plant's Flood Defenses Trigger a Yearlong Regulatory Confrontation
"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).
"This is the first test of the revised flood preparations for Fort Calhoun
," OPPD spokesman Michael Jones said.
NRC inspectors concluded that at flooding levels above 1,008 feet, the plant "would experience a loss of offsite power and loss of intake structure" and water pumps providing essential cooling water to the plant
. In that case, "the plant would be incapable of reaching cold shutdown" with normal operations -- a fundamental safety requirement imposed by the NRC. The commission's Region IV office in Arlington, Texas, issued a notice of violation against the plant on Oct. 6 last year, finding that the issues were of "substantial importance" to the plant's safety. OPPD challenged the NRC's inspectors' conclusions in a series of conferences before bowing to the commission staff's demands and agreeing to install the additional defenses this year. The AquaDam water berm was installed beginning June 4.
[link to www.nytimes.com
- seems they fought the safety measures all the way.