The Omaha Public Power district is monitoring rising water levels to safeguard operations at its power plants.
OPPD released the following information Thursday about precautions currently being exercised:
The District has been closely monitoring the Missouri River levels and making preparations at its three power plants that exist along the river.
While the current levels do not put the plants in harm's way, the District is taking a very conservative approach and has begun preparation. Current activities include inspection of the levee surrounding the Nebraska City Station plant. In addition, sandbags, sand and a sandloader on site should they need to mitigate water. They are also reviewing the plans and lessons learned from the 2011 flood to ensure we are prepared in the event we see additional rainfall.
Fort Calhoun Station is taking a very conservative approach and will lower its power level and hold at reduced power as actual river levels and trends are being evaluated. Although the plant isn't required to shut down until the river reaches the level of 1,004 feet above mean sea level (msl), plant leadership may take a more conservative approach after thoroughly evaluating the data. Around 1 p.m. today (June 19), the river level at the plant was 998 feet. Projections by the weather service would put the level near the 1,004-foot mark on Saturday.
If the river reaches 1004-foot level, Fort Calhoun Station's procedures will have it declare a Notification of an Unusual Event, just as it did in 2011. A NOUE is the least-serious of four emergency classifications that are standard in the U.S. nuclear industry. Fort Calhoun Station will stay in this emergency classification until the river drops below the 1,004-foot level and it is confident the water will remain below that level.
Preparations for the possible flooding already have begun at the plant with workers using the lessons they learned while protecting the plant from historic Missouri River flooding that began three years ago this month.
Sand-filled temporary berms have been erected around critical equipment. Flood doors and mobile pumps have been staged to be used when needed.
OPPD is in regular contact with the National Weather Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and numerous emergency management agencies to keep abreast of changing conditions. We will be proactively keeping the public aware of precautions the District is taking throughout this event.