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Nebraska City News-Press - Nebraska City, NE
  • Ice Puts Fort Calhoun Station Temporarily Offline

  • The severe winter cold in the heartland had another impact today. The sub-freezing temperatures caused an ice build-up on one of six sluice gates in the plant's Missouri River water-intake structure. The ice build-up was enough to keep the gate from fully closing. All of the gates must be able to close in case of flooding, so...
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  • The severe winter cold in the heartland had another impact today. The sub-freezing temperatures caused an ice build-up on one of six sluice gates in the plant's Missouri River water-intake structure. The ice build-up was enough to keep the gate from fully closing. All of the gates must be able to close in case of flooding, so this meant the plant had to shut down, even though no flooding is predicted. At no time was the public in any danger.
            Workers checking the plant first noticed the ice buildup last night. Operators then began analyzing the situation and at 3:15 notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of the non-emergency condition that would require the plant to shut down. That is the kind of conservative step required in nuclear power operations. The process of safely taking the plant offline began about two hours later. The plant went off line at 9:00 a.m. The shutdown took place with no complications.
            Workers have cleared the ice, and are taking steps to manually lower the affected sluice gate. Once the gate is closed, the intake structure can operate safely and effectively with only five sluice gates open. The river water that comes through the intake structure is used to cool and condense steam that has gone through the power turbine. The river water never comes near the water that flows through the reactor.
            When the intake structure is operable, workers plan to safely return the plant to service. Some repairs will be made to the sluice gate before it can operate. OPPD will issue another notification when plant start-up begins.  As always, safety will be the top concern during repairs and in bringing the plant back online.
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