Omaha Public Radio News
8:26 am
Tue June 28, 2011

NRC Chairman visits Fort Calhoun, Cooper nuclear plants

Omaha, NE – The chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says there's no immediate threat to public health or safety from the Fort Calhoun and Cooper Nuclear plants.

Greg Jaczko toured both plants over the weekend. A berm protecting the Fort Calhoun plant collapsed Sunday. Missouri River flood water surrounded the containment and auxiliary buildings. A levee breached three miles north of Brownville last week, but NPPD officials say the Cooper Nuclear Station is safe.

Jaczko says the NRC identified issues two years ago with the Fort Calhoun plant's flood preparedness program. "One of the things I wanted to really do was get in to the plant and see how they are addressing those specific safety issues. The bottom line, it's up to Fort Calhoun and all the employees who work at Fort Calhoun to continue to ensure that the plant operates safely."

NRC inspectors are at the Fort Calhoun station, monitoring it around the clock. OPPD shut down the Fort Calhoun plant in April for refueling. Jaczko says spent fuel in the plant has cooled significantly and poses very little risk.

Jaczko says the situation is different at Cooper Nuclear Station in Brownville, because that plant is on higher ground. Cooper Nuclear Station is still fully operational.