||Flood Rumor ControlFollowing are responses to flood-related rumors that OPPD has heard about.Rumor: Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station is at a Level 4 emergency or level 4 alert.
- This terminology is not accurate, and is not how emergencies at nuclear power plants are classified.
- Fort Calhoun Station (FCS) declared a Notification of Unusual Event (NOUE) on June 6.
- A NOUE is the least-serious of four emergency classifications established by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
- FCS declared a NOUE because the Missouri River was projected to reach 1,004 feet above mean sea level. (It reached that height on June 9.)
- The FCS plant’s reactor has been in cold shut down for a planned refueling outage since April 9. It will remain in that condition until the river recedes.
- The reactor and spent-fuel pool are in a normal, stable condition and are both protected; there has been no release of radioactivity and none is expected.
Rumor: A no-fly zone was set up around Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station because of a release of radiation, similar to what happened with the Fukushima reactors in Japan.
- There has been no release of radioactivity at Fort Calhoun Station due to the flooding and none is expected.
- The flight restrictions were set up by the FAA as a result of Missouri river flooding.
- OPPD’s extensive, preplanned actions to protect the FCS reactor and spent-fuel pool from the floodwaters have been effective.
- The reactor is housed in a watertight containment building, and is in a normal and safe “cold shutdown” condition, covered by more than 23 feet of purified reactor coolant water.
- In addition, OPPD has installed Aqua Dams® and other berms around such vital equipment and buildings at the FCS site.
Rumor: Because of a fire at Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station on June 7, the plant’s spent-fuel pool was in danger of boiling and releasing radioactivity.
- There was no such imminent danger with the Fort Calhoun Station spent-fuel pool.
- Due to a fire in an electrical switchgear room at FCS on the morning of June 7, the plant temporarily lost power to a pump that cools the spent-fuel pool.
- The fire-suppression system in that switchgear room operated as designed, extinguishing the fire quickly.
- FCS plant operators switched the spent-fuel pool cooling system to an installed backup pump about 90 minutes after the loss of power.
- During the interruption of cooling, temperature of the pool increased a few degrees, but the pool was never in danger of boiling.
- Due to this situation, FCS declared an Alert at about 9:40 a.m. on June 7.
- An alert is the second-least-serious of four emergency classifications established by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
- At about 1:15 p.m. on June 7, FCS operators declared they had taken all appropriate measures to safely return to the previously declared Notification of Unusual Event emergency classification. (See first item above.)
Rumor: OPPD will run out of coal if railroads cannot reach the plants.
- Currently, trains are arriving at both of OPPD’s coal-fired power plants. OPPD and a private contractor have raised the tracks at Nebraska City Station to allow coal to continue to be delivered to the plant.
- OPPD has several months’ worth of coal already on plant sites.
Rumor: A red flag tied to an overhead power line means OPPD has – or is about to – de-energize that line and cut power to the area.
- An orange ball or red flag on an overhead line serves as a warning to alert aircraft and operators of heavy equipment of an energized line.
- A red flag on a power pole means power has been disconnected at that pole.