The operator of the Fort Calhoun nuclear power station has officially exited the “Notification of Unusual Event”. That is the designation OPPD was required to declare when water from the Missouri River rose to 1,004 feet above mean sea level back on June 6.
Notification of Unusual Event is the first and lowest of four emergency levels, which is standard in the U.S. nuclear industry. The emergency level was never raised beyond that during the spring and summer flooding.
The river has dropped to 1,003 ½ feet.. Fort Calhoun Station shut down April 9 for routine refueling. It was in cold shutdown as the flooding situation began to develop. Decreasing water levels have allowed OPPD to being removing elevated walkways which were set up to allow employees to keep working at the station. Some of the temporary aqua berms that were set up to add protective layers to the station and other buildings haven been removed.
OPPD reports that a vast majority of the plant site is dry. “We have a great deal of work to do before we start generating power,” Dave Bannister, OPPD Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer said in a statement. He said as the water continued to drain away, workers and contractors are busy checking for damage. So far, no significant damage has been found. OPPD said it cannot accurately estimate when the plant will resume operations.