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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

June 22, 2011: Fort Calhoun has 2 feet of flood water in several areas of plant

Missouri River Also Flooding

Farther south, the Missouri River is creating trouble in the area where the states of Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska converge.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is closely watching conditions along the Missouri River where floodwaters are rising at Cooper Nuclear Station and the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant in Nebraska

The Fort Calhoun plant was shut down on April 7 for a refueling outage, and operators decided not to restart it until flooding had subsided. The Cooper plant was shut down for an "unusual event" on June 19.

"Both plants have activated their flood response plans and taken appropriate steps to protect vital structures, systems and components from rising floodwaters and maintain their plants in a safe condition," NRC Region IV Administrator Elmo Collins said in a statement today.

Although the Fort Calhoun plant is surrounded by an 8 foot tall and 16 foot wide protective berm, two feet of water have already made its way to several areas of the Fort Calhoun plant, but authorities say there is no immediate danger at either plant.

Many residents of affected areas are having difficulty traveling, as Interstate 29 has been shut down in the region and every bridge crossing from St. Joseph, Mo., to Omaha, Neb., has been closed.

Sections of U.S. 275 and U.S. 136 in northwest Missouri are also impassable.

In Holt County, Mo., 600 residents of the towns of Corning and Fortescue have been evacuated, as authorities say that sustained flooding could keep those residents out of their homes for several weeks.

ABC's Neal Karlinsky and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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