Fukushima on the Missouri?

We sure hope not, but this isn’t looking too good. From AP, June 26:

BROWNVILLE, Neb. — 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.

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. 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.

A nice little convergence of the nuclear threat and the climate crisis.

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  1. More grim convergence
    From ABC News, June 29:

    The wildfire that surrounds the nuclear lab in Los Alamos, N.M., has grown to at least 61,000 acres amid mounting concerns about what might be in the smoke that’s visible from space.

    Such fear has prompted fire crews to set their own fires along the perimeter of the lab. So far, the strategy is working. The first air samples show lots of smoke, but no signs of elevated radiation.

    “Those results show that what we see in this fire is exactly what we see in any fire across New Mexico,” said Charles McMillan, the lab’s director.

    Environmental officials aren’t taking any chances. The Environmental Protection Agency is bringing in dozens of air monitors all around the state, along with a special airplane that takes instant radiation samples…

    The Los Alamos facility—the birthplace of the atomic bomb—was shrouded in secrecy long before it was surrounded by smoke after the Las Conchas fire began Sunday.

    “It contains approximately 20,000 barrels of nuclear waste,” former top security official Glen Walp said. “It’s not contained within a concrete, brick-and-mortar-type building, but rather in a sort of fabric-type building that a fire could easily consume.

    “Potential is high for a major calamity if the fire would reach these areas,” he added.

  2. More grim convergence on the Missouri
    From AP, July 25:

    900 gallons of oil spill into Missouri River in ND
    WILLISTON, N.D. – Damage around a North Dakota oil well site where officials believe floodwaters shifted a storage tank, causing at least 900 gallons of oil to spill into the Missouri River, does not appear to be significant, state health department officials said Friday.

    The tank is at a well site owned by Ryan Exploration Inc., which has committed to cleaning up the mess. The site is among about 40 on the flood plain southwest of Williston shut down under state orders when the river started to rise in May. Some companies emptied storage tanks of oil and refilled them with water to hold them down in the high water.

    And poor North Dakota was just hit by an oil spill a few weeks ago.

    See our last post on the politics of oil spills.