OPPD Proactively Monitoring Missouri River Levels and Taking Precautions
The Omaha Public Power District is monitoring rising water levels to safeguard operations at Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station. Early Friday, June 20, Fort Calhoun Station took a very conservative approach and lowered its power level as actual river levels and trends are being evaluated. Although the plant isn't required to shut down until the river reaches the level of 1,004 feet above mean sea level (msl), plant leadership may take a more conservative approach after thoroughly evaluating the data. Around 11 a.m. on June 20, the river level at the plant was 999 feet.
If the river reaches 1004-foot level, Fort Calhoun Station's procedures will have it declare a Notification of an Unusual Event. A NOUE is the least-serious of four emergency classifications that are standard in the U.S. nuclear industry. Fort Calhoun Station will stay in this emergency classification until the river drops below the 1,004-foot level and it is confident the water will remain below that level.
Preparations for the possible flooding already have begun at the plant with workers using the lessons they learned while protecting the plant from historic Missouri River flooding that began three years ago this month
OPPD is in regular contact with the National Weather Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and numerous emergency management agencies to keep abreast of changing conditions.
Sustained improvement is focus of plant personnel.
After two years and eight months of hard work, planning and transition, OPPD safely restarted Fort Calhoun Station (FCS), reaching full power output on Dec. 26, 2013. This returned nearly 500 megawatts of carbon-free, baseload electricity to OPPD’s generation mix.
During that extended outage, major changes to the plant’s equipment and procedures were overseen by Exelon Generation, which operates the nation’s largest commercial nuclear fleet. OPPD hired Exelon to manage FCS operations, starting in 2012.
Sitewide, FCS personnel are moving toward full integration to the Exelon management model, and implementation of OPPD’s plan for sustained improvement at the plant. Although operating, FCS remains under increased oversight by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
Fort Calhoun Station Event Timeline Articles