Photo: Associated Press
The rising Missouri River last night breached a levee just three miles upstream from the Cooper Nuclear Power Station in Nebraska.Nearby Mills County, Iowa, and Atchison County, Missouri, have ordered some residents to evacuate the area due to rapidly rising flood waters.
“This is a large breach and water will be moving rapidly. Persons should stay out of this area if previously evacuated due to danger,”Atchison County Emergency Management said in a statement.
The Cooper plant is one of two nuclear power stations in Nebraska that remain threatened by the rising waters of a severely flooded Missouri River. Both are under “notification of unusual event” alerts, the lowest of four nuclear emergency classifications.
The Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) which runs the Cooper power station says the plant is safe despite still-rising floodwaters. Unlike the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Station upstream, which has been shut down since April for refueling, the Cooper plant is still in operation.
The Associated Press is reporting that rather than putting the plant in greater jeopardy, the breach in the levee has had the positive effect of lowering the level of the river around the Cooper plant.
While the water level at the plant on Thursday was seven inches short of that at which plant owners have said they would shut down production, the breach in the levee caused the river level to fall by nearly two feet this morning, allowing plant officials to breathe a much-needed sigh of relief.
Gregory Jaczko, head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Washington national nuclear power watchdog, is scheduled to visit the two plants on Monday.
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