Nuclear Power Plant Updates

Posted By on June 19, 2011

From Washington’s Blog…………..

WOWT Reports: [Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant’s chief nuclear officer, Dave Bannister] said for the plant to get to a disaster level, floodwater would have to rise three and a half feet above where it stands now.

The Kansas City Star Notes:  The endless complexities have made prediction a tough task, said
Ross Wolford, a hydrologist working long days for the National Weather Service in order to try to predict the river’s flow.“We don’t have, nor does the Corps or anyone else have, a hydraulic model of what the [Missouri] river’s going to do,” Wolford said. “There’s a lot of art in the way we estimate.”

The Journal Star Points Out:  The flood begins higher up, at places like Dark Horse Lake in the Bitterroots, [Montana] where another 2 inches of snow fell late this week, landing on the 8 feet still on the ground.“It’s all starting here,” said Jim Brusda with the National Weather Service in Great Falls, Mont. “It’s going to flow back down there toward Nebraska” …“People who have been here 50 years, 70 years, say they haven’t seen anything like this … And there’s a lot of water to come” …And as the snow-fed Missouri crosses Montana, it’s collecting record rainfall, too. Some areas received 10 inches in three weeks; 3 inches fell on a town in northeast Montana between Thursday and Friday.  The rain is expected to continue through the weekend. An even stronger storm system could surface next week.

From Japan: Monju

The New York Times has a must-read report on a situation at a reactor hundreds of miles from Fukushima which hasn’t turned into a catastrophe net, but could become a large-scale disaster:

Three hundred miles southwest of Fukushima, at a nuclear reactor perched on the slopes of this rustic peninsula, engineers are engaged in another precarious struggle.

The Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor — a long-troubled national project — has been in a precarious state of shutdown since a 3.3-ton device crashed into the reactor’s inner vessel, cutting off access to the plutonium and uranium fuel rods at its core.

Engineers have tried repeatedly since the accident last August to recover the device, which appears to have gotten stuck. They will make another attempt as early as next week.

But critics warn that the recovery process is fraught with dangers because the plant uses large quantities of liquid sodium, a highly flammable substance, to cool the nuclear fuel.


Prefecture and city officials found that the operator had tampered with video images of the fire to hide the scale of the disaster. A top manager at the plant recently committed suicide, on the day that Japan’s atomic energy agency announced that efforts to recover the device would cost almost $21.9 million. And, like several other reactors, Monju lies on an active fault.

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