Flood Conditions Force Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant to Power Down

Nebraska's Fort Calhoun nuclear plant cut its power output Friday as a precautionary measure while water levels rose on the adjacent Missouri River.

The Omaha Public Power District notified federal officials shortly after midnight that the plant planned to ramp down power to meet technical specifications related to river flooding. The water was expected to crest at about 1,002 feet above mean sea level, which is two feet below the level requiring a shutdown. OPPD said in a release that the water was not expected to rise further and that the utility was keeping the reactor at partial power as workers began implementing protective measures for critical equipment as a precaution. The highest floodwaters expected Friday would potentially cover some low-lying parts of the plant, including a parking lot. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission indicated the reactor was at 55 percent power that morning.

OPPD said it is incorporating lessons learned from flooding at the plant in 2011 during a maintenance shutdown that would evolve into three years of repairs and regulatory scrutiny. Exelon currently handles day-to-day operations at the plant, which returned to service in December.

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