Nuke plant on Iowa border prepares for record flooding


June 6th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s only nuclear power plant is in Palo, near Cedar Rapids, but another one is located just across the now-flooding Missouri River in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska. Mike Jones is spokesman for the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant and says they’re ready for any threat from the rising waterway.

We are trying to be prepared in case there is any flooding down the road here,” Jones says. “We have sandbagged some areas. We have filled a number of sandbags in case they are needed in other areas.” Jones says they’re taking a number of steps to protect potential danger zones.

“We’ve moved some equipment,” Jones says. “We’ve looked to make sure our flood gates are ready in case we need them. We are trying to be pro-active and be in a state of readiness.” In light of all that happened in Japan a few months ago when a power plant was washed over by a tsunami, Jones says people in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa don’t have to worry about any type of nuclear disaster here. He notes, the plant isn’t even running at the moment.

Jones says, “The plant is in a refueling outage so it is not operating but we want to be prepared should we be completed by the time the river goes back down to make sure we’re able to operate.” He says they’re keeping a careful watch on the Missouri River, which may continue rising into mid-June.

Jones says, “The best thing that we can do right now is what everyone else is doing and that is to keep a very close eye on the river and if it starts to rise, to make sure we are taking the appropriate steps.” The Fort Calhoun plant is reportedly designed to handle 14-to-15 additional feet of water from the current stage.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)