Tag Archives: Cooper Nuclear Power Plant

Los Alamos & Fort Calhoun Update, July 5

Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory, new mexico

Las Conchas wildfire in New Mexico (NASA Earth Observatory)

Another NASA Earth Observatory image of the Las Conchas wildfire

The above two images show the Las Conchas wildfire on June 29. Active fire areas are outlined in red. The top image shows a natural color view of the fire. The lower image combines visible and infrared light to show the area burned throughout the week. In the infrared light, the smoke is a faint blue haze that allows a view of the ground below. The hot fire glows orange, and the newly burned land is dark red. [Source]


Yesterday, I read that the Los Alamos Nuclear Lab will be reopened this Friday.

From the New Mexico Fire Information website, on the Las Conchas wildfire:

Current Situation

Total Personnel 2,196
Size 127,821 acres
Percent Contained 27%
Fuels Involved Mixed Conifer, Ponderosa Pine. Fuel moisture is extremely low.

Little change is expected in the weather from yesterday. Thunderstorms are possible with the chance of strong outflow winds. East and southeast winds will develop over the fire area today, pushing the fire generally to the northwest. Winds developing after 10 am will push the fire up slopes and drainages, especially in drainages with east/west orientation. We also expect another day of very active fire behavior where open lines exist on any western edges or fingers.

The fire above Los Alamos is active and visible. Containment lines are secure. There are many islands of unburned ground. In these areas, fire backs down slopes, and then makes visible short uphill runs. This pattern is likely to continue until the summer rains extinguish the fire. Meanwhile, with support of the Los Alamos Fire Department, the fire is being carefully monitored.

Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant, Nebraska

From the Omaha World-Herald, June 5, 2011:

Flooded land: About 170,000 acres of Nebraska land is inundated by Missouri and Platte Rivers floodwater, according to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. That’s the equivalent of more than 265 square miles.

Dam releases:

  • Fort Randall Dam in South Dakota is releasing water at a rate of about 155,000 cubic feet per second. Releases from the Dam will be reduced Thursday for Army Corps of Engineers officials to inspect repair work that had been done on the structure before the spring runoff season. Engineers want to see how the structure is performing.
  • A similar inspection was conducted last week at Big Bend Dam in South Dakota, upstream from Fort Randall.
  • Gavins Point Dam on SD-NE border — the lowest dam on the Missouri River, immediately downstream on the Nebraska border from Fort Randall — continues to perform well and no similar closure is expected. (Please note that this is completely contrary to the alarming, malicious, and totally unconfirmed rumor about plans to “blow up” Gavins Point Dam, on this blog, June 28, 2011. I’m glad I sat on the story and did not post it on FOTM.)

Meanwhile, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists chastises the media for their failure to investigate and report on the flooded Fort Calhoun and Cooper Nuclear Power Plants:

Failure of the fourth estate. Newspapers and websites all over the country have reported on the flooding and fire at Fort Calhoun, but most articles simply paraphrase and regurgitate information from the NRC and OPPD press releases, which aggregators and bloggers then, in turn, simply cut and paste. Even the Omaha World-Herald didn’t send local reporters to cover the story; instead, the newspaper published an article on the recent fire written by Associated Press reporters — based in Atlanta and Washington. Unsurprisingly, much of the information in recent press reports has lacked context….

Admittedly, it’s not easy finding information about Fort Calhoun, even if you’re a local reporter without a tight deadline. OPPD press releases and the company’s online newsroom do not provide details about the plant’s layout and components. Some of that information was available before 9/11 but was removed because of concerns about terrorism. In protecting ourselves from enemies, we have also hidden vital information from ourselves. So finding the relevant facts takes some digging and dialing, and most newsrooms today don’t have that kind of manpower. That’s especially true at newspapers scrambling to cover a multitude of flood impacts across the region.

A June 9 report delivered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), “Information Needs of Communities,” states that the number of full-time journalists at daily newspapers has fallen from a peak of about 56,900 in 1989 to 41,600 in 2010 — fewer than before Watergate.


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Updates on Los Alamos & Fort Calhoun, June 30th

Los Alamos fire

Los Alamos Nuclear Lab

As of 12:40 p.m., June 28, 2011:

  • No wildfire currently on Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory (LANL) property.
  • A network of 7 high-volume air samplers along the southern, northern and eastern boundaries of Lab property indicate no radioactive materials from Lab operations or legacy waste in smoke from the Las Conchas fire.
  • Lab will remain closed through Friday, July 1, because of risks presented by the Las Conchas Fire and the mandatory evacuation of Los Alamos town site.
  • More alarming is that the Associated Press reports that LANL is storing “as many as 30,000 drums of plutonium-contaminated waste in fabric tents above ground.Peter Stockton, a senior investigator for the independent watchdog Project on Government Oversight (POGO) says: “They talked about getting it out of there, but they simply haven’t. They [should] store it at WIPP (Waste Isolation Pilot Plant) in southern New Mexico, an underground storage facility for low-level waste.  But again, now they claim these barrels can stand up to tests of fire.” (H/t Joseph)

Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant

  • Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station, 19 miles north of Omaha, has been taken offline because of the flooding. The river surrounds the plant to a depth of about two feet.
  • About 70 miles south of Omaha, Cooper Nuclear Station remains online. On Thursday, the river was about three feet below the level that would require the plant to shut down.
  • Today, the regional office of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that oversees Nebraska sent an official request to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, asking what would happen if a dam fails upstream of Fort Calhoun and Cooper nuclear power plants. Combined, the six U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dams on the flood-swollen Missouri River comprise one of the largest reservoir systems in the country. The dams are releasing historic amounts of water during what will be a summer of managed flooding in the Missouri River valley. John Bertino, head of dam safety for the Omaha district, said that although the dams have had some issues, it’s nothing that affects their integrity. “They’re performing really well,” Bertino said Thursday morning. “We don’t see any concerns.” Still, the corps is monitoring the dams 24/7, with both engineers and electronic surveillance.

Rumor: Nebraska’s nuclear power plants store spent fuel rods in open casks. If the Missouri River rises high enough, it will overflow them and carry contaminated water downstream.

Fact: The plants both use outdoor, above-ground entombment, also called dry cask storage, for its oldest fuel. The fuel is entombed in steel canisters that have been welded shut. These canisters are then placed inside concrete bunkers that rely on outside air flowing around the canisters to carry away residual heat. The bunker and canisters are built to withstand flooding. Elevated indoor pools are used for the most recently used fuel rods. At the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station, the river would have to rise another 32.18 feet to flow over the top of the pool deck. At the Brownville plant, the river would have to rise approximately 102 feet.

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Los Alamos Nuclear Lab Threatened by Wildfire

Aerial view of the Los Alamos Nuclear Lab

On top of two nuclear power plants in Nebraska (Fort Calhoun and Cooper) being flooded by the Missouri River, now a raging wildfire is endangering the Los Alamos Nuclear Lab in New Mexico.

According to the New Mexico Fire Information website, the Las Conchas wildfire began at 1:00 p.m. last Sunday, June 26, 2011, in the Santa Fe National Forest, approximately 3 miles south of Los Alamos, and has burnt at least 43,624 acres.

Los Alamos is one of two laboratories in the United States where classified work towards the design of nuclear weapons is undertaken. The other, since 1952, is Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

The New Mexico Fire Information website says: “The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) will be closed due to the fire. All laboratory facilities will be closed for all activities and nonessential employees are directed to remain off site. Employees are considered nonessential and should not report to work unless specifically directed by their line managers. Employees should check local news sources, the LANL Update Hotline 505-667-6622 and the LANL web page www.lanl.gov for updates. All radioactive and hazardous material is appropriately accounted for and protected. LANL staff is coordinating the on-site response and supporting the county and federal fire response.”

As of 10:30 pm last night, the fire is 0% contained.


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12 Things About Which the MSM Are Being Strangely Quiet

Below are excerpts from End of the American Dream, June 20, 2011:

As the mainstream media continues to be obsessed with Anthony Weiner and his bizarre adventures on Twitter, much more serious events are happening around the world that are getting very little attention. In America today, if the mainstream media does not cover something it is almost as if it never happened….

In times like these, it is more important than ever to think for ourselves. The corporate-owned mainstream media is not interested in looking out for us. Rather, they are going to tell us whatever fits with the agenda that their owners are pushing. That is why more Americans than ever are turning to the alternative media. Americans are hungry for the truth….

The following are 12 things that the mainstream media is being strangely quiet about right now:

#1 The crisis at the Fort Calhoun nuclear facility in Nebraska has received almost no attention in the national mainstream media…. But considering what has been going on at Fukushima, it would be nice if we could have gotten a lot more coverage of these events by the mainstream media.

[Please see Fellowship of the Minds’ latest update: Fort Calhoun is shut down; a second Nebraska nuclear power plant is also flooded.]

#2 Most Americans are aware that the U.S. is involved in wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. However, the truth is that the U.S. military is also regularly bombing Yemen and parts of Pakistan. If you count the countries where the U.S. has special forces and/or covert operatives on the ground, the U.S. is probably “active” in more countries in the Middle East than it is not. Now there are even persistent rumors that U.S. ground units are being prepared to go into Libya. Are we watching the early stages of World War 3 unfold before our eyes in slow motion?

#3 The crisis at Fukushima continues to get worse. Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president, recently made the following statement about the Fukushima disaster….

“Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind”

TEPCO has finally admitted that this disaster has released more radioactive material into the environment than Chernobyl did. That makes Fukushima the worst nuclear disaster of all time, and it is far from over.

#4 Members of Congress continue to mention Christians as a threat to national security. For example, during a recent Congressional hearing U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee warned that “Christian militants” might try to “bring down the country” and that such groups need to be investigated.

#5 China’s eastern province of Zhejiang has experienced that worst flooding that it has seen in 55 years. 2 million people have already been forced to leave their homes. China has already been having huge problems with their crops over the past few years and this is only going to make things worse.

#6 Thanks to the Dodd-Frank Act, over the counter trading of gold and silver is going to be illegal starting on July 15th. Or at least that is what some companies apparently now believe.

#7 All over the world, huge cracks are appearing for no discernible reason. For example, a massive crack that is approximately 3 kilometers long recent appeared in southern Peru. Also, a 500 foot long crack suddenly appeared recently in the state of Michigan. When you also throw in all of the gigantic sinkholes that have been opening all over the world, it is easy to conclude that the planet is becoming very unstable.

#8 According to U.S. Forest Service officials, the largest wildfire in Arizona state history has now covered more than 500,000 acres. But based on the coverage it is being given by the mainstream media you would think that it is a non-event.

#9 There are reports that North Korea has tested a “super EMP weapon” which would be capable of taking out most of the U.S. power grid in a single shot. The North Koreans are apparently about to conduct another nuclear test and that has some Obama administration officials very concerned.

#10 All over the United States, “active shooter drills” are being conducted in our public schools. Often, most of the students are not told that these drills are fake. Instead, students often go through hours of terror as they think a hostage situation or a shooting spree is really taking place.

#11 NASA has just launched a “major” preparedness initiative for all NASA personnel. The following is an excerpt about this plan from NASA’s own website: “A major initiative has been placed on Family/Personal Preparedness for all NASA personnel…to prepare for an emergency situation….”

#12 Over the past week over 40 temporary “no fly zones” have been declared by the FAA. This is very highly unusual. Nobody seems to know exactly why this is happening.

To read the whole article, click here.


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Second Nebraska Nuclear Plant Flooded

JournalStar.com reports, on June 21, 2011, that the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant in Nebraska is shut down “for scheduled refueling.”

Record levels for the Missouri River were set Tuesday at Plattsmouth and Nebraska City, surpassing levels set in 1993, the National Weather Service said.

Fort Calhoun’s owner and operator, Omaha Public Power District (OPPD), says the nuclear plant won’t be restarted until the flood waters go down.

But the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency was assured that the availability of electrical power will remain stable for Nebraskans despite rising floodwaters and despite the fact that floodwaters also are lapping at the Cooper Nuclear Power Plant near Brownville, but it continues to operate. Should Cooper be shut down because of increased flooding, the utilities say they can generate enough power with their coal-fired plants or import power from other states to provide the state with sufficient power.

There are now 92 Nebraska National Guard soldiers and airmen providing direct support in the flooding emergency.

Blogger Jenny Hayden writes that the OPPD reports there have been “no releases of radioactive material since flooding of the Missouri River began.”

OPPD has issued “Flood Rumor Control” talk points for its employees and the news media, which relegate most concerns to “precautions.” At the same time, however, a Thursday update includes this as a last line buried in the story:

“For health and safety reasons, all individuals are cautioned to avoid contact with any flood water.”

A home is surrounded by flood waters in Minot, ND, June 24, 2011 (Reuters/Allen Fredrickson)

Meanwhile, 669  miles north of Fort Calhoun, in North Dakota, the AP reports that the Souris River’s full weight hit Minot on Friday, June 24, 2011, swamping an estimated 2,500 homes as it soared nearly 4 feet in less than a day and overwhelmed the city’s levees.

City officials said they expected more than 4,000 homes to be flooded by day’s end. More than a quarter of the city’s 40,000 residents had evacuated earlier this week, packing any belongings they hoped to save into cars, trucks and trailers.


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