NRC monitors declared fire alert, flood dangers at Fort Calhoun nuclear station

Source: US Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been monitoring conditions at the Fort Calhoun Station, located 19 miles north of Omaha, Neb., since the plant, operated by Omaha Public Power District (OPPD), declared an Alert.

The Alert was declared due to an indication of fire in the west switchgear room on June 8, at 9:30 a.m. CDT. Automated fire suppression systems activated as expected and the fire was confirmed out at 10:20 a.m. OPPD exited the alert at 1:15 p.m. An “Alert” is the second lowest of four emergency classes. OPPD briefly activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and the Joint Information Center (JIC).

For the duration of the event the NRC monitored developments from its incident response center at its Region IV office in Arlington, Texas, and received updates from the onsite NRC Inspectors. OPPD notified the states of Nebraska and Iowa.

There was no danger to the public of a radiation release because the plant has been shut down since early April for a refueling outage and remains in that condition. Although the plant briefly lost its normal ability to cool the spent fuel pool, temperatures in the pool remained at safe levels and the plant recovered pool cooling without the need for any of the plant’s multiple backup systems.

The licensee previously entered a Notice of Unusual Event due to the rising level of the Missouri River and some onsite flooding on June 6. Since that time, NRC has provided round the clock staffing with its Resident Inspectors and they will continue to remain on site and monitor the situation during the flood conditions.

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