Nuke Under Nature's Attack

Floods threaten nuclear powerplant in Nebraska

A day after an 8-ft-tall temporary berm protecting Nebraska's Fort Calhoun nuclear powerplant from the overflowing Missouri River collapsed, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspected the site and said it posed no “immediate threat to the health and safety of the public,” according to a statement by Gregory Jaczko, NRC's chairman. The plant's owner, Omaha Public Power District, says the Calhoun plant is designed to withstand flood levels eight feet higher than the river's current level.

Nuclear Power

Florida Utility Picks Renovation Over Decommissioning of Plant

Rather than shut down its cracked Crystal River Nuclear Plant 3 in Citrus County, Progress Energy Florida will seek approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the state of Florida to commit to $1.3 billion in additional repairs to the out-of-commission facility. The utility plant shut down in 2009, when scheduled renovation work uncovered severe internal cracking in the concrete. This March, Progress was in the final stages of returning the unit to service when a second, more significant cracking or delamination occurred in another section of the containment structure. In a June 28 conference call, Bill Johnson, Progress Energy's president, chairman and CEO, said the utility reviewed all options, including shutting down the plant. “Based on our best information today, we believe it is prudent to repair Crystal River 3, rather than decommission the plant,” he said.

Mass Transit

Arbitrator Awards $66 Million To Seattle Project Contractor

An arbitration panel has ruled that Seattle-based Sound Transit must pay the RCI-Herzog joint venture $66 million for soil remediation and utility relocation work performed during construction of the Central Link of that city's light-rail transit system, which was completed in July 2009. The dispute centered on the light-rail line's 4.3-mile segment through the Rainier Valley in southeast Seattle, where RCI-Herzog contracted to build trackway, stations and new streets. The joint venture asserted that the extent of petroleum-contaminated soils and underground utilities was greater than what Sound Transit had indicated on its design documents, adding nearly two years to the construction schedule. The panel's award is less than half of the $137 million RCI-Herzog requested. With its final contract now resolved, the 13.9-mile Central Link project's completion cost comes in at $117 million less than its original budget estimate of $2.44 billion.


Pentagon Renovation Finished

After 17 years, $5.4 billion and the aftermath of the Sept.11, 2001, terrorist attack that crashed an airliner into the building's outer ring, the renovation of the Pentagon is now complete. Initiated in 1994, the program modernized the 6.5-million-sq-ft building while keeping it fully operational. The job entailed removing more than 70,000 cu yd of asbestos and building modern office and support spaces, an all-new building system, technology and communications infrastructure, and 70 new elevators.