Nebraska Nuclear Meltdown? Coverage of Fort Calhoun and Cooper Nuke Power Plant Flooding on the Missouri River

UPDATE 7/09/11 2100PST: Situation Improving
Missouri River at BLAN1 gauge (1.3 miles upstream of Fort Calhoun): 31.61 feet and forecast to continue falling slowly.  Near record releases continue from all six dams upstream and are expected to remain high throughout the summer.  Fort Calhoun and Cooper Nuclear Power Plants are stable.

~447,000 acres of farmland was flooded and much of it is expected to be underwater for additional weeks.  This flooding is but one incident in a global uptick of wacky weather: severe droughts and/or flooding has been an ugly trend around the world.  The implications of unpredictable weather on already near record food prices are obvious.

Today US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack questioned the Army Corps of Engineers about their management of the flooding.  Notably, the Corps could have but did not increase dam releases throughout the spring in anticipation of the record flooding we are seeing now.  In fact, on March 3rd the Corps stated there was no reason to expect unusual flooding this summer despite the obvious existence of exceptional snowpacks throughout the Rocky Mountains. 

UPDATE 6/29/11 1300PST: CNN footage inside Fort Calhoun

TELLING VIDEO... embedding disabled:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHJ8S72vBaY

UPDATE 6/29/11: 10 Mile Evacuation Ordered?  Doubtful.

Missouri River at BLAN1 gauge (1.3 miles upstream of Fort Calhoun): 32.68 feet and rising slowly.

Today numerous sites are referencing this local news video where the anchorwoman states, "[NCR Chairman] Jazcko says even though there was a 10 mile evacuation around the plant, there is no immediate threat to the plant's reactor."

Though this local news video makes it sound like an evacuation was ordered, there is no confirmation on the local news websites or from anyone in the area.  Even the Washington County Pilot-Tribune and Enterprise in nearby Blair Nebraska makes no reference to an evacuation.  If a 10 mile evacuation had been ordered, Blair would be one of the first places notified.

Though the river is forecast to rise slightly and stay high for quite some time, it seems the Fort Calhoun situation is stable and should remain stable unless a dam fails upstream or the floodwaters rise significantly for some other reason.

Given the extreme flows (2-3x previous records) expected to persist for weeks or months at all six dams upsteam, a sudden dam failure cannot be ruled out.  These dams are obviously undergoing an unprecendented test.

Dam↓ Previous Record Flow↓ Previous Record Year↓ Flow May 1, 2011[7]↓ Flow May 31, 2011[7]↓ Flow June/July 2011↓
Fort Peck Dam 35,000 1975 7,000 9,700 65,500 (June 19th)[8]
Garrison Dam 65,000 1975 17,400 80,400 150,200[9]
Oahe Dam 59,000 1997 29,400 86,300 160,300[9]
Big Bend Dam 74,000 1997 21,200 83,900 165,000 (planned)[10]
Fort Randall Dam 67,000 1997 42,300 76,600 157,000 (planned)[10]
Gavins Point Dam 70,000 1997 45,000 77,000 160,700[11]

This video from the South Dakota Historical Society gives a good idea just how much water is moving at four dams upstream of Fort Calhoun.  As is clearly shown, there is extensive erosion taking place at the dams.  Hopefully erosion or some other factor does not cause failure at any of the dams.

UPDATE 6/27/11 2130PST: River is on the Rise...

While our nation's watchful eyes have turned to the wildfire threat at Los Alamos Nuclear Lab in New Mexico, the Missouri River near Fort Calhoun is on the rise and forecast to top 33 feet soon...

Source: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=oax&gage=blan1
*NEW FOOTAGE* from the AP via the NRC:

UPDATE 6/26/11 1900PST: Local News Broadcast 6/26/11 and More Oil Free Photo Analysis
It is unfortunate that the media can't get any closer than what's shown in this local broadcast which aired tonight.

This is Omaha local news and they address the water-filled berm failure:

Apparently the next line of defense is movable barricades blocking the many large doors to the main building.  See magnification below of an AP  image taken June 14th (before the NO FLY ZONE started being enforced).  It appears that they have sandbags or something similar in place and stacks of extra bags to pile higher if needed.

Hopefully this is enough to keep the flood waters out of the main building at Fort Calhoun.  Hats off to the courageous plant workers who are no doubt busting their asses to keep things as close to normal as possible there.

The doors are apparently well-blocked, but what about the large electrical equipment (transformers) visible in this magnification of a different section of the same AP photo from June 14th?

We can glean other information from this photo as well.  Please notice the semi trailer (R) and drop deck flatbed trailer (L) in the middle of this image.  Notice the wheels on the semi trailer as a frame of reference for eyeballing it's overall height: clearly it's close to the size of a standard semi trailer we see on the highways of America every day: ~13'6" tall.

The drop deck flatbed trailer looks similar to this image of a Dorsey Drop Deck trailer I found online.

According to the following diagram, a typical height for a drop down trailer's upper deck is ~69" or five feet, nine inches.
Here is a closeup of the area compliments of OPPD.  The trailer heights give a good gauge for guestimating the overall height of the berm.

Notice that the trailers, the yellow posts, and the electrical transformers are clearly identical in both images.  It appears that the berm is slightly taller than the upper deck of the flatbed and not quite half as tall as the 13'6" trailer.  This image confirms earlier analysis that the water-filled berm was closer to six feet tall than the widely reported eight foot figure.

Additional confirmation regarding the height of the now-defunct berm comes from the AquaDam manufacturer's website:

Image Source: http://www.layfieldenvironmental.com/pages/Products/AquaDamProducts.aspx?id=3116&tab=specs

As this table clearly shows, the tallest AquaDam being produced is only 7.5 feet tall, not the reported 8 feet.  Also notable is the fact that mainstream sources said the AquaDam was 8 feet tall and 16 feet wide, yet even the six foot tall AquaDam is 20 feet wide according to this table from the manufacturer.

It seems safe to assume that the AquaDam being implemented at Fort Calhoun was 6 feet tall by 20 feet wide - or 7.5 feet by 22 feet maximum - as opposed to the 8 foot by 16 foot figure the mainstream was feeding us.

None of this really matters now that the berm has failed.  All it really shows us is that the NRC, OPPD, and mainstream media are fudging their stories... as expected.  We saw how negligent corporations, corrupt government, and big media handled the Fukushima disaster in Japan: there is no reason to assume they would handle a nuclear incident in America any differently.

FROM 6/22/11:  RT offers 15 minutes of informative analysis about Fort Calhoun, Cooper, Fukushima, and Monju Nuclear Plants and their respective crises:


Dutchsinse has garnered quite a following over the last few months for his accurate predictions of major storms.  Whether or not you understand or believe in his methods, one thing is clear: this guy is passionate about his work and committed to sharing what he sees as the truth.

Dutchsinse is from St. Louis but he drove up to Omaha to check out the Fort Calhoun event for himself.

Regarding the recent AquaDam failure at Fort Calhoun and levee breaches upstream:

Dutchsinse has also done three independent radiation tests in the area of Fort Calhoun of June 24th... *GOOD NEWS*... no major radiation release detected, but this was all conducted before the reported AquaDam failure.


This image was released today although it was taken between June 14th and 16th.  As you can see, the water filled berm around the largest building is still very much intact at the time this was taken.  Today the water is higher than when this picture was taken and inundates the biggest building.

Today the mainstream media reports: last night at ~1:30AM the water filled berm protecting Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station collapsed.  Though the flood waters are now obviously inundating ~9/10ths of the entire grounds and several main buildings, today the NRC claims there is no water inside the plant. 

From the AP, published just minutes ago ago...


OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A berm holding the flooded Missouri River back from a Nebraska nuclear power station collapsed early Sunday, but federal regulators said they were monitoring the situation and there was no danger.  (Ed: TEPCO and the Japanese Gov't. said stuff like this about Fukushima for over a month.)
The Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station shut down in early April for refueling, and there is no water inside the plant, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said. (Ed: BULLSHIT.) Also, the river is not expected to rise higher than the level the plant was designed to handle. NRC spokesman Victor Dricks said the plant remains safe.

The federal commission had inspectors at the plant 20 miles north of Omaha when the 2,000-foot berm collapsed about 1:30 a.m. Sunday. Water surrounded the auxiliary and containment buildings at the plant, it said in a statement.

The Omaha Public Power District has said the complex will not be reactivated until the flooding subsides. Its spokesman, Jeff Hanson, said the berm wasn't critical to protecting the plant but a crew will look at whether it can be patched.

"That was an additional layer of protection we put in," Hanson said.

The berm's collapse didn't affect the reactor shutdown cooling or the spent fuel pool cooling, but the power supply was cut after water surrounded the main electrical transformers, the NRC said. (Ed: Contradicts their previous statement that no water is inside the plant.) Emergency generators powered the plant Sunday while workers tried to restore power.

NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko will tour the plant Monday. His visit was scheduled last week. On Sunday, he was touring Nebraska's other nuclear power plant, which sits along the Missouri River near Brownville.

Both nuclear plants issued flooding alerts earlier this month, although they were routine as the river's rise has been expected. The Brownville plant has been operating at full capacity.

Flooding remains a concern all along the Missouri because of massive amounts of water the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released from upstream reservoirs. The river is expected to rise as much as 5 to 7 feet above flood stage in much of Nebraska and Iowa and as much as 10 feet over flood stage in parts of Missouri.

The corps expects the river to remain high at least into August because of heavy spring rains in the upper Plains and substantial Rocky Mountain snowpack melting into the river basin.


One counter-intuitive aspect regarding the report of berm failure last night is that according to the BLAN1 gauge just upstream of Fort Calhoun, the river has fallen substantially since cresting late Friday night.  On Friday, 6/24 the river peaked at 32.65 feet and had lowered to ~32.25 feet, a drop of almost six inches.  See for yourself...
Not as steep as our economic data, but still a notable drop.

UPDATE 6/24/11 1100PST
Today there is a notable uptick in big media coverage of the Nebraska nuclear power plant flooding.  Unfortunately key information being published does not fit with the known facts.  Here is one prominent example of the misleading and contradictory information being broadcast widely today.

Today, 6/24/11, the New York Times reports that Fort Calhoun is "encircled by the swollen waters of the Missouri River, which reached a height of nearly 1,007 feet above sea level at the plant yesterday"  Regarding the plant's defenses, the NYT article states that Fort Calhoun has implemented "new steel gates and other hard barriers protecting an auxiliary building with vital reactor controls, and a water-filled berm 8 feet tall that encircles other parts of the plant. Both systems are designed to hold back floodwaters reaching 1,014 feet above sea level."

Briefly stated, the New York Times says the river at Fort Calhoun is approaching "1,007 feet above sea level" and the 8 foot tall water-filled berm is "designed to hold back floodwaters reaching 1,014 feet above sea level."  According to the New York Times the plant should be safe even if the Missouri River rises another seven feet.

Unfortunately, this encouraging information is not true.

As this image taken on June 14, 2011 clearly shows, the floodwaters were already surrounding and partially submerging Fort Calhoun's water-filled berm on that date.  This is a hi resolution image so you can save it to your computer and zoom in to see the extent to which the water-filled berm is submerged.  Clearly there was a foot or more of flood water being held back by the berm on June 14th.  On that date, the BLAN1 gauge ~1.3 miles upstream was registering 31.50 feet, or 1008.94 feet above sea level.  Today, 6/24, the BLAN1 gauge registers slightly more than a foot higher: 32.59 feet or 1010.03 feet above sea level.

In short...

JUNE 14th: 31.50 feet (and rising) recorded at BLAN1 gauge 1.3 miles upstream of Ft Calhoun
JUNE 24th: 32.59 feet (and rising) recorded at BLAN1 gauge 1.3 miles upstream of Ft Calhoun

From this information one can reasonably conclude that the flood level at Fort Calhoun is currently at least one foot higher than it was on June 14th, or at minimum two feet above the bottom of the eight foot tall water-filled berm.  This is consistent with an official statement from the NRC published 6/22/11.

The obvious question is how can an eight foot berm that is already holding back at least two feet of water protect against an additional seven feet of flooding?  Seven additional feet of floodwater would put the Missouri River at least one foot above the top of the berm.

To accept the New York Times' reporting we must throw out logic and basic math.

The New York Times report also contradicts the official statement released by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in other ways.  In that report the NRC states: 

[Fort Calhoun] has erected a water-filled berm around the powerblock – vital areas including the containment and auxiliary buildings. The berm is eight feet tall and 16 feet wide at the base, and provides protection for up to six feet of water.


The NCR has augmented its inspection staff at Fort Calhoun where there is now two feet of water in many areas onsite.

If there is already an admitted two feet of water onsite, and the eight foot berm is only designed to protect against six feet of water, there is absolutely no way it can hold back an additional seven feet of water.

Though the NYT information is clearly not credible, if we...
*Accept the New York Times stated current flood height at Fort Calhoun: "1007 feet above sea level"
*Accept the NRC's statement that the berm is designed to protect against six feet of water
*And know that the berm is already partially submerged by  *at minimum* two feet of water...

...the absolute MAXIMUM safe level the berm could hold back is 1011 feet above sea level, not 1014.  Though a discrepancy of three feet may not sound like a big deal, it is a huge deal when the safety of a nuclear power plant in America's Heartland is at stake.

Mind you this 1011 foot figure is at a conservative extreme.  According to a USA TODAY article, Fort Calhoun is at an elevation of 1004 feet above sea level.  If the river is currently at 1007 feet, the maximum safe river level drops to 1010 feet.  Acknowledging that the BLAN1 gauge 1.3 miles upriver is currently registering just over 1010 feet above sea level, the berm may have already failed.

We cannot know for sure because media have had zero access to the flooded plant since around June 14th.

It is important to note that the New York Times article published today originated at ClimateWire and was apparently reprinted word for word by the NYT.  This morning the ClimateWire website was adorned with a prominent banner ad for the Nuclear Energy Institute, "That layers precaution on top of precaution."

Perhaps that Nuclear Energy Institute ad should read: "THAT LAYERS LIES ON TOP OF LIES".

UPDATE 6/23/11 2200PST

The latest forecasts from the National Weather Service for the BLAN1 gauge 1.4 miles upstream from Fort Calhoun show a gradual rise in the river level for the following four days with an expected height of 32.7ft on 6/27/11 at 1200CST.  The river has backed off slightly this evening to 32.46ft.  Let's hope that the dams upstream hold and that minimal rain falls over the next several days.

UPDATE 6/23/11 1500PST

I just discovered a powerful video from Mankato, Minnesota.  A concerned (and well-informed) man confronts the Editor of his local paper about why they haven't covered the Nebraska floods or Fort Calhoun Power Plant situation: compelling evidence that the mainstream newswires are attempting to BLACK this story out.

Note: the footage leaves quite a bit to be desired but the audio is priceless... perhaps hit play and scroll onward with the audio in the background.

UPDATE 6/23/11 1400PST
RT has been slaying the big media BLACKOUT surrounding Fort Calhoun and the Nebraska flooding lately.  Respect and big thanks for their bravery...

UPDATE 6/23/11 1330PST

The BLAN1 gauge 1.37 miles upstream of Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant is rising.  It is now at 32.59 feet, up from 32.56 feet this morning.

The published forecast is essentially a flat line with a slight bump upward at ~3pm on Saturday June 25th, 2011.  Monitor the gauge in real time here.

UPDATE 6/23/11 0800PST

This morning the National Weather Service Reports:


The Blair Gauge (BLAN1) (Latitude: 41.534167° N, Longitude: 96.096389° W) being referred to is located ~1.37 miles upstream from the big circular structure in the center of Fort Calhoun nuclear plant.

At the time of writing, BLAN1 is currently registering what appear to be the highest levels yet seen in this year's flooding: 32.56 ft and 189,000 cfs.  This level is less than a foot below the all-time record level of 33.5 ft set on 4/17/1952.

Due to the media blackout, we have not seen recent images or footage from the area.  This photo, taken on June 14th by Nati Harnik of the AP, contains a wealth of information.  I finally located a hi res copy.  Right click to save it for your own magnified observation.
Hi Res Photo of Fort Calhoun Nuke Plant on June 14, 2011.  Credit: Nati Harnik, AP
Here is the National Weather Service statement for Blair, Nebraska issued within hours of when this photo was taken on June 14th.


In short...

JUNE 14th: 31.5 feet (and rising) recorded
JUNE 23rd: 32.5 feet (and rising) recorded... 32.56 feet recorded at 0900CDT

Comparing these two statements and the photo, we can safely conclude that the river level now is approximately 12-13 inches closer to the top of the water-filled berm than it was on June 14th.

This unaltered magnification of the AP photo from June 14th gives a good perspective on what things looked like then:
Magnification on left front corner of Fort Calhoun AquaDam, June 14, 2011.  Blair Gauge reading ~31.5ft.
From this image we can picture what an additional 12-13 inches of water would look like in the area.

   *The walkway the man is jogging along would now be very close to the flood level.

   *The flood level is now at or above the mid-point "hump" of the water-filled berm.

   *The water-filled berm does not appear to reach the widely reported height of "8 feet tall".  If the man running isn't 8 feet tall, there's no way the berm is either.

We have a close up photo of this particular staircase (date unknown) compliments of the official OPPD Flood and Outage blogger site

By comparing these photos it is easy to conclude:

   *The staircase/walkway/location is identical in both pictures.  Everything matches up.  Note the pile of extra pipes near the staircase in both pictures and the identical pattern of missing sections of handrail on the external walkway.

   *The flood level is substantially lower in the second image than in the magnification with the man running on the walkway.  Notice the different apparent heights of the walkway over the flood waters.

   *The water-filled berm is several feet lower - perhaps two to three - than the 15 step stairway constructed over it.  The stairway does not appear to be very steep in either photo.  Assuming each step is a standard 7 inches high, that puts our staircase at 8 feet 9 inches.  Factoring in the obvious difference of two to three feet, the water filled berm protecting Fort Calhoun from the rising flood waters is between 5 feet 9 inches and 6 feet 9 inches tall.  It is certainly closer to 6 feet tall than the widely cited 8 foot number commonly reported.  This analysis is confirmed by comparing the height of the running man with the berm.  If he's not 8 feet tall, neither is the berm.

   *The berm is not of uniform height due to creases that diminish it's height in areas by at least several inches.

Here is a summation of an NRC (US Nuclear Regulatory Commission) statement from 6/22/11:

   *The river is described as "rising" at the time the report was released.  The report uses the term "rising" four times to describe the river's situation.  This is consistent with current forecasts from the National Weather Service

   *Cooper Plant, ~60 miles South of Omaha, is still generating electricity.  It sits "two and a half feet" above the "rising" river's level.

   *At Fort Calhoun Plant, ~20 miles North of Omaha, "vital areas including the containment and auxiliary buildings" are protected by a water-filled berm.  The report states the berm's purported dimensions and capabilities: "8 feet tall and sixteen feet wide at the base, and provides protection for up to six feet of water."

   *At Fort Calhoun Plant there is "two feet of water in many areas on site."  Please note that the report does not include a quantifier such as "up to" or "at maximum" two feet of water.  The wording is vague and leaves open the possibility of two feet of water over here, six feet of water right there, ten feet of water over there, etc.  As we shall see, there is a lot more than two feet of water covering the grounds of the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant.

 If we compare the NRC's statement with what we know based on our own analysis, it becomes apparent that there is considerably more than two feet of water surrounding the plant and the barrier they claim is 8 feet tall -- offering protection up to six feet -- is actually closer to 6 feet tall, offering protection up to perhaps 4 feet six inches.

In short, we know what we've known all along: 1) the rising Missouri River is dangerously close to flooding the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant 2) government agencies and large corporations LIE and obscure the truth when it suits their purposes.

All of this analysis assumes, of course, that the water-filled berm is still there: despite scouring the internet, there are no more recent images or on site reports available.  Though more mainstream sources are mentioning the situation, none are on site or provide new information.  This obvious obstruction of the truth leaves 300 million Americans who could be affected by this situation in the dark.


Rachel Maddow shows us the same dated footage, tells us a lot that we already know about Fort Calhoun and gives a disturbing update on Fukushima.

UPDATE 6/22/11 1720PST

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is about to increase the flow of the Missouri River downstream from its Gavins Point Dam. The corps late Tuesday afternoon published data showing that the Gavins Point Dam will increase its output to 160,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) from its current 150,000 cfs by Thursday. Hydrologic data shows that upstream reservoirs are still taking in more water than dams are able to release. The corps’ data shows the 160,000 cfs rate will continue through at least the 15th of July. The Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, South Dakota is the last of the “upstream” dams on the Missouri River that control levels in reservoirs used for flood control. The previous record for releases from Gavins Point prior to this flood was 70,000 cfs. Monday, the Corps’ commanding officer in the Missouri River Basin, Brig. General John McMahon called increasing out flow from the Gavins Point Dam “a worst case scenario.”  – DA (Filed: 6:01 pm)

UPDATE 6/22/11 1400PST

Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant before the NO FLY ZONE was implemented.  Exact date unknown.
The disgusting Big Media Blackout over Nebraska's nuclear incident is still very much in effect.  Once again, CNN.com has no coverage of Nebraska flooding or Fort Calhoun on their homepage.  You can learn all about "The world's most scenic cruises", or "Bristol Palin's 'stolen' virginity" but if you want info on what could be the greatest disaster in our nation's history CNN can't help you.  Searching CNN.com for "fort calhoun" or "Nebraska flooding" brings up no new stories.  All you get is two day old coverage on how the Missouri River could - gasp! - disrupt the College World Series.
Fuck you too, CNN.

You want real news?  Get it from the real media in America today:

Also consider monitoring the USGS WaterWatch page for Nebraska

UPDATE 6/22/11 0800PST

This video posted to YouTube last night.  It is as close to the stricken Fort Calhoun Plant as the news media is getting these days.    Listen to the farmer flying the plane.  He clearly knows a good deal about the situation because he's been flying around monitoring the flooding since it began.

Though we get no detailed image of the plant, at least this video shows the extent to which Fort Calhoun was completely surrounded by flood waters on June 14th.  Clearly the plant is still surrounded as river levels have not receded at all in the last week.

Searching the website of the news agency that produced this video, WOWT 6 Omaha, reveals that last night river levels were forecasted to rise around Omaha:

Posted: 7:41 PM Jun 21, 2011
Army Corps Plans To Up Gavins Point Release

Releases will be increased to 160,000 cubic feet per second by Thursday.

The Corps says the increase is a result of wet weather throughout the Missouri River Basin.

A large storm system producing heavy rain hammered South Dakota and northern Nebraska in the past 48 hours, with as much as 6 inches of rain falling in parts of South Dakota.

The heavy rains resulted in high inflows to Oahe, Big Bend and Fort Randall reservoirs. High inflows are anticipated at Gavins Point as well.

The impact of extra release will result in an increase in river stages from 0.7 to 1 foot in Sioux City, IA, and 0.3 to 0.4 of a foot from Omaha to Rulo, NE. The Army Corps says this is just an estimate, actual stages will depend on tributary inflows.

“We thought we would be able to hold at 150,000 cfs for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, recent rains have reduced our flexibility, and we must evacuate these flood waters to manage the remaining flood control storage in the reservoir system. As we’ve stated all along, heavy rain storms could result in major revisions,” said Brig. Gen. John McMahon, commander of the Northwestern Division of the Army Corps of Engineers.

Here we have clear confirmation that the flood level is expected to rise around the Fort Calhoun and Cooper Nuclear Power Plants.  Mind you that flows from all six dams upstream of Omaha are currently at ALL-TIME RECORD release levels... and by no small margin:

Dam↓Previous Record Flow↓Previous Record Year↓2011 Flow↓
Fort Peck Dam35,000197565,500 (July 19th)[6]
Garrison Dam65,0001975150,200[7]
Oahe Dam59,0001997160,300[7]
Big Bend Dam74,0001997165,000 (planned)[8]
Fort Randall Dam67,0001997157,000 (planned)[9]
Gavins Point Dam70,0001997160,000[10]
The all-time record flooding is forecasted to last into August and a major concern is that dams and levees were not designed for flooding this severe or long term.  If one of the six major dams upstream were to fail, Omaha and both nuclear power plants could be hit by a surge in flood waters.

Fortunately, the rains of the last few days have largely subsided over Iowa, Nebraska, and the Dakotas. Nevertheless, river levels are expected to rise or stay at close to their high marks throughout the week.  

We get a good forecast for river levels and upcoming weather here (after the first few minutes this video offers local Iowa forecasts that are not too important to the big picture):

It has been widely known since a U.S. House Energy Committee hearing in late March, that the Calhoun facility is one of three in the nation singled out by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for increased oversight. Months before the public acknowledgement, OPPD Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer David J. Bannister was notified by the NRC that the Calhoun facility had been given final “yellow” finding, which was specifically based on the plant’s “failure to maintain procedures for combating a significant flood.” Since the determination, plant officials have been working to resolve the violations that led to the finding, but as recently as May 26 plant officials discovered a “potential flooding path,” according to reports filed with the NRC.


The flood battle, however, remains far from over for the Missouri River basin. U.S. Corps of Engineers was releasing 150,000 cubic feet per second from the Gavins Point Dam in northeast Nebraska, but has now announced that will increase the already historic discharge to 160,000 cfs to accommodate continued rainfall in South Dakota. Flood stage for the Missouri River at Omaha is 29 feet, according to the Omaha World-Herald, and Tuesday’s level was 34.5 feet. The additional discharge planned by the Corps is expected to add between 5 and 6 additional inches to the river level around Calhoun.     

OPPD, operator of Fort Calhoun Nuke Plant, has started a website for "Flood Rumor Control" which leaves many questions unanswered, notably:
     *How high is the river right now?  Are critical parts of the plant currently submerged?
     *Why haven't any images of the plant been released in the last week?
     *When did the government start enforcing NO FLY ZONES "due to flooding" and "for security      
     reasons we cannot reveal"?
     *Why is no news organization reporting from on or near the site?  What are you hiding?

Huffington Post offers a synopsis and useful tool in "Track the Nation's Flooding: Missouri River Floods and Southern Drought" which gives some good realtime data.

The Daily Paul, a site devoted to Presidential Candidate Ron Paul, has joined numerous others in picking up and running the story of a state-sanctioned news blackout surrounding the plant, saying:

"Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant (Omaha, NE) Suffers a Major Accident, News Blackout ordered... This is awful news and not a peep about this in the state run news media anywhere. This is Treason at the Highest Level."

The original source of the federally mandated media blackout story is from "The Nation" .pk (Pakistan) which is clearly not a reliable source.  Personally, I don't need anyone else's story to see the mainstream blackout taking place: the proof is in the lack of coverage on most major network websites.  See below...

UPDATE 6/21/11 1630PST

As I scour the internet for credible info, I am shocked by how little is being said about the record flooding and nuclear situation in the Heartland. To showcase how absent the MAINSTREAM COVERAGE of this story is, I am going to shed light on CNN's current crimes against humanity.

If you go to CNN.com right now (1700PST on 6/21/11), there is absolutely NO coverage of or link to Missouri River flooding or the troubled nuclear plants on their homepage.  You can learn all about "Lohan under house arrest", "Triple digit surge in the Dow", "Marine  life facing mass extinction"(!?), or how "Michael [Jackson] feared murder" but you cannot find any mention of Nebraska's recent tornadoes, rising flood waters, or the nuclear power plants currently threatened.  It is now clear that in addition to the government's NO FLY ZONE over Nebraska, a NOT A PEEP ZONE has been implemented as well.
Searching CNN.com for "Fort Calhoun" (the name of a threatened nuclear power plant) yields only one result: a short "all clear" statement issued June 8th!

Mind you that the Missouri River has completely surrounded Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Station for the last two weeks.  Remember that the only thing standing between that nuclear power plant and the surging river is an eight-foot-tall rubber tube called an AquaDam.  Don't forget that the river is currently rising due to yesterday's massive storm, additional rainfall today, and record snowpack melting in the Rocky Mountains.  And please bear in mind that this all-time record flood is expected to persist well into August.

Let us hope the water doesn't rise a few more feet and come over the top of the AquaDam.  Let us hope that a fallen tree, automobile, or farm implement that happens to come floating by between now and August doesn't rip a hole in the water-filled AquaDam.  Let us hope some wacko with a canoe and a knife doesn't float along in the middle of the night either.  To my understanding, one good slash would depressurize an AquaDam rather quickly and allow the river to come rushing in.

Perhaps the mainstream media thinks hope is too difficult an emotion to muster these days, because it seems their strategy is to file this story among Our Nation's collective denials.  The proof is in the coverage: 

Searching CNN.com for "Nebraska flooding" brings up a smattering of minor stories from last week and only one story published in the last 48 hours, which is an insult to Journalism.

Flooding Affects College World Series?
The overflowing Missouri river could flood Omaha, Nebraska, and disrupt the College World Series.

So CNN is concerned that the floodwaters could breach the City of Omaha and spoil the College World Series.   Yet they don't feel an obligation to keep people informed about the nearby nuclear power plants that could really spoil the party?

Fort Calhoun Nuke Plant is ~20 miles North of Omaha.  Cooper Nuke Plant is ~60 miles South of Omaha.  Both are located close to the river.  Both are threatened by flooding.  Heck, Fort Calhoun PLant is partially submerged!  Surely if the City of Omaha is at risk of "disruptive" flooding, these power plants are too.

Shame on the Mainstream Media.  When the lies and omissions  become this blatant, people get pissed.

Take a look in the mirror.  Acknowledge that you are human.  Acknowledge that, if you live in the United States, this bullshit is happening in your backyard.  Realize that you are being lied to about life or death situations.  And get pissed.

You know what Anonymous sez:

We do not forgive.  We do not forget.  Expect us.

Hey #CNN: thanks for nothing.  The Independent Media will suck the flesh from your bones.  And #TedTurner, if you own #CNN, why don't you man up and tell the fucking truth.  I've heard you speak publicly, and your corporation's actions don't reflect your stated beliefs.

UPDATE 6/21/11 1300PST

RT once again offers incisive analysis:

Today (Wednesday) the Omaha World-Herald reports info from Monday!  How about right now?!  Before yesterday's heavy rains, they expected "More water: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Monday that the Missouri River had risen less than a half foot in the Pierre-Fort Pierre, S.D., area after water releases from Oahe Dam were increased by 10,000 cubic feet per second over the weekend. Releases were at 160,000 cfs as the corps tries to make room for possible heavy rains. Col Bob Ruch, corps district commander in Omaha, said the agency was pleased that there hadn't been more of a rise in the river in the Pierre area. It had gone up about four-tenths of a foot."

UPDATE 6/21/11 0800AM

SYNOPSIS: More stories on the flooded nuke plants are emerging today but mainstream coverage is still minimal. By reading between the lines of general flood coverage, we see that the situation does NOT look good for the two stricken nuke plants.

Yesterday's big storm dumped a lot of rain - up to 8" in places - on the already flood-stricken area.  Today's radar shows widespread precipitation upriver of the Fort Calhoun and Cooper plants near Omaha.

Today, 6/21/11: more rain to the Dakotas which feed the Missouri River. 
Yesterday, 6/20/11, a BIG storm pounded the region, dropping 8 INCHES of rain in places

Due to yesterday's massive storm, flash flood waters are making their way into the already swollen Missouri River.  KDLT reports: "Flash Flood Warnings remain in effect for many areas of southern and  central South Dakota and travel is not recommended through the morning hours on Tuesday.  Reports of as much as 8" of rain from Fort Thompson south to Burke have left many roads flooded or washed out from Hand and Hughes counties southward through Lyman, Buffalo, Brule, Gregory, and Charles Mix county."
The New York Times Reports: " Last year, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission cited the Fort Calhoun  plant for not being adequately prepared for floods and rated the safety violation in the “yellow” category, the second most serious. The agency ordered changes because it said that under the plan in place at the time, a major flood could cause core damage"

Today we also discover via MSNBC that "Radioactive tritium has leaked from three-quarters of U.S. commercial nuclear power sites, often into groundwater from corroded, buried piping, an Associated Press investigation shows."

RollingStone labels Fort Calhoun one of "America's Worst Nukes" citing the following: "Pumps in an emergency water  system failed repeatedly over several years, but the plant owner failed to identify the cause."  The plant is operated by OPPD, Omaha Public Power District.

Comprehensive Coverage and background info on the Fort Calhoun and Cooper Nuclear Incidents from Hawai'i Daily News.  This website has been covering the situation for weeks and summarizes: "As a result of one of the wettest winters in over 100 years flooding on the Missouri River is threatening two nuclear reactors located in Nebraska. The US Army Corps of Engineers (US ACE) has estimated that the  nuclear facilities could be under up to ten feet of water and stay there for weeks during their controlled release of flood waters."

"Controlled Release" is the key variable.  If the US Army Corps of Engineers remains in control of the situation, things may be OK.  If one dam or a major levee upstream fails, things could spiral out of control.

Here are the dams upstream on the Missouri River.
Missouri River Dams Upsteam of Omaha (source: Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources)
There is concern about the integrity of these dams.  Several have had problems recently, many are built atop relatively weak shale rock, and all are currently releasing all-time record amounts of water.

Wikipedia coverage of the flooding is surprisingly good.  Support independent media!

UPDATE 6/20/11 2000PST:

RT News is the only mainstream source offering in-depth coverage and analysis:

Snippets from the handful of reputable sources reporting let us know that...


Here is a great summary from the Bismarck Tribune of the situation from June 17th on where things stood then.

On top of all that uncertainty, there's a MASSIVE storm stalling out and dumping rain over the Missouri River tributaries of the Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri.  Believe me, "MASSIVE" is the proper term to describe this storm:

Underground Video Coverage of the storm expected to persist and drop 1-2 inches in some places.

FEMA confirms that this storm (and the overall situation) is not looking good:

 An active weather pattern is expected to continue across the region over the next couple of days. Additional precipitation, more than an inch in some areas is forecast today. Additional severe weather will be possible through tonight...Peak reservoir releases are expected to continue well into August. A low pressure system over the Central Plains will produce widespread precipitation across the Central and Northern Plains, Great Lakes and Southwest into Central Texas. The system is expected to produce severe thunderstorms including damaging wind gusts, large hail and tornadoes from the Central Plains to the Ohio Valley. Heavy precipitation (1-2 inches) associated with the thunderstorms will produce localized Flash Flooding. Strong west to northwest winds of 30 to 40 mph with gusts up to 50 mph are expected behind the deepening system. The system will shift eastward into the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley tomorrow.

Fort Calhoun a week ago.  The waters will rise regardless.  If a dam breaks, all bets are off.  How high's the water mama? 

On June 6th, 2011 the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Station outside Omaha went on alert due to record long term flooding of the Missouri River.  The plant has been surrounded, perhaps completely inundated, by silt-depositing flood water.  Currently the situation has "Officially Stabilized" though there's a NO FLY ZONE over the Plant and Interstate 29 Northbound out of Omaha is CLOSED.

Today the YouTubers show the waters are clearly rising and that local authorities are, as sadly expected, bumbling...

The flood waters are expected to rise and could last weeks or months.  This flooding may be historically unprecedented due to the extreme weather plaguing the nation this spring.

Several dams and countless levees are under severe stress upstream of the flooded nuclear power plant.  If one of them were to break, the partially submerged nuclear power plant could be overrun by what Arnie Gundersen calls an "inland tsunami".

If anything is abundantly clear in this crazy world, it's that tsunami's and nuclear power plants do not play well together.

Though few mainstream media outlets have covered it, on June 7th 2011 Fort Calhoun Nuke Plant suffered an electrical fire in the switch room.  The flood-related electrical fire shut down cooling on a spent fuel pool for ~90 minutes.

The utility company responsible for the plant sez things are stabilized, but they do so with minimal fanfare and often release statements in the wee hours of the morning when few people are awake to pick up on it.

There are reports of a media blackout.

Is this our own little Fukushima in the Heartland?  I sure hope not.

We'll see what the courageous YouTubers find up there tomorrow with their self-financed science, 'cuz the EPA ain't saying shit.

Meanwhile pray for drought in the upper Midwest, cool temps in the snowcovered Rockies, and that none of those old levees on the Missouri River breaks...