Nuclear Power Plants Appear Safe From Flooding In Midwest And South
Heavy rains have brought historic floods to the St. Louis region on the eve of the New Year, causing the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers to overflow.
The high water levels are traveling south, potentially bringing major flooding to Mississippi and Louisiana. That raises the question about the safety of the nuclear power plants located in the vicinity of the floods.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is closely watching the situation, but the nuclear watchdog said that it does not expect the floods to adversely affect any of the plants. In a January 5 update, the NRC ran through some of the specific reactors located in the flooding zone.
Nebraska has the Fort Calhoun and Cooper power plants, and the NRC says the Missouri River probably won’t be high enough to force the plants to take protective measures. The same is true for the Callaway plant in Missouri.
The Mississippi River is expected to crest on January 15 in Mississippi, but the Grand Gulf Station in the state shouldn’t be affected. Louisiana’s River Bend and Waterford Stations should also be in the clear. All three of these plants are operated by Entergy.
After the Fukushima meltdown in Japan, the U.S. tightened safety requirements on nuclear power plants. Each plant is required to prove that it can withstand extreme flooding and shut down safely if it needs to. The plants have back up diesel generators to ensure no interruption of electric power to keep the plant cool occurs.