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Thu Apr 12, 2012, 04:53 PM

Feds confirm Neb. nuke plant fire was major threat

Feds confirm Neb. nuke plant fire was major threat
April 10, 2012 03:57 PM EST

...The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in its final determination that the small fire at the Fort Calhoun plant 19 miles north of Omaha was of "high safety significance." The finding mirrored the commission's preliminary conclusion announced March 12.

"This finding has high safety significance because it affected multiple safety systems and consequently warrants actions to prevent recurrence," said the NRC's regional administrator, Elmo Collins.


Such a serious finding typically means additional oversight for a nuclear plant, but Fort Calhoun already is under the NRC's strictest oversight level because of a prolonged shutdown that began last spring and several other reported problems, including the failure of a key electrical part during a test and flood planning deficiencies, both found in 2010.

The plant was shut down at the time of the fire, which started in an ill-fitting electrical breaker. The electrical system running the pumps that cool spent fuel in a pool of water was disrupted. The pumps are a key piece of safety equipment because if pumping systems were to fail for several days and were not fixed, cooling water could boil away and eventually allow radioactive releases...


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