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OPPD Dispels Nuclear Meltdown Rumors In Ft. Calhoun

Officials: Fukushima Event Will Not Happen In Ft. Calhoun

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman toured the flooded Missouri River this week and saw the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant, seemingly inundated by water.

The same image that the governor saw reached the Internet and had led to a wave of rumors. But Omaha Public Power District officials said the images don't tell the whole story.

They said the flood water pumped into a giant donut around the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant was put there to keep flood water out. Officials called it an "aqua berm."

The OPPD showed videos taken almost two weeks ago to demonstrate the efforts to keep the facility dry.

"I want (people) to understand the plant is safe (and) will continue to be safe," said Dave Bannister, an OPPD nuclear plant officer.

Officials said on Friday that the plant is on the lowest emergency status, but they are prepared if it rises another 10 feet.

"We have a lot of margin of where we are today. And, if things were to progress, we still have margins and actions to be able to address that," Bannister said.

Officials said they also want to dispel the rumors going around the Internet about a possible nuclear meltdown.

OPPD Chief Executive Officer Gary Gates said, "It's frustrating because some of the information is not right."

In April, OPPD asked for a no fly zone over the plant because they shut down the reactor for routine refueling.

"It has nothing to do with radiation. There is no release of radiation from the site," Bannister said.

Officials said the situation is totally different than the nuclear power plant in Japan that was hit by both earthquake and tsunami. They said they are confident with weeks they've had to prepare.

"I can assure you a Fukushima event will not occur at Fort Calhoun," Gates said.

OPPD said they will not restart the reactor until the river stabilizes.

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