Top nuke official in Nebraska

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June 23rd, 2011

*Update: Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko toured the Cooper Nuclear Station near Brownville, NE on Sunday, and is scheduled to tour the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant Monday. Jaczko arrived in Nebraska just after news broke that an earthen berm around the Fort Calhoun plant had collapsed around 1:00am Sunday morning. Officials say the plant is safe. Jaczko will meet with reporters Monday afternoon.

Omaha, NE – KVNO News has confirmed that the head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Gregory Jaczko, will likely be stopping in Nebraska on Monday. Senator Mike Johanns’ office confirms the NRC has told his office to expect the Chairman Monday, although the NRC will not confirm the visit. Typically, these announcements are not confirmed until all scheduling is finalized.

Cooper Nuclear Station, near Brownville, is still online but the rising Missouri is creeping closer to the plant. (Photo by Robyn Wisch)

Jaczko would be heading to Nebraska to take a first-hand look at the state’s two nuclear power stations. The Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant and the Cooper Nuclear Station near Brownville both lie along the rising Missouri, and are increasingly surrounded by water.

Both Nebraska plants have been under investigation by the NRC in recent months. Fort Calhoun, which shut down for refueling in April and is still offline, was cited by the NRC last year for being inadequately prepared for flooding. The plant was placed, with two others, on an NRC “watch list.” Cooper was placed under investigation in March, after three workers were inadvertently exposed to radiation.

Meanwhile, Governor Dave Heineman says he’s confident Nebraska’s two nuclear power stations are safe, and is glad the NRC Chief plans to visit.

“I trust the judgment of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the leaders of our two nuclear power plants,” Heineman said. “They’re the ones in charge. Obviously, with all the water around, we’re all concerned. But they’ve protected those plants very well, and we’re very confident that we’ll be okay in that regard.”

The Governor was in Omaha Thursday for a press conference at the Qwest Center, where he announced the city will again host the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials in 2012.

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