In the Northfield News today:

Northfield’s responsibility for impacts of drainage is nothing new

To the editor:

Due to complaints of flooded basements, the City of Northfield is looking at its responsibility for drainage and impacts. The City Council, Planning Commission, Engineering, and City staff need to know that drainage issues are not new. Much of Northfield is built on swampland.

Over 20 years ago, when Presidential Commons was proposed and platted, the plan was to move “Grant Park” and build townhouses over the swale and Grant Park. Grant Park was supposed to have been deeded to the City, a green space condition of approval of a prior development, but that parkland dedication didn’t happen. Next, the developer wanted to build over the park, which the City allowed. This platting would move the park, change drainage patterns, and have a significant impact on pre-existing homes.

Thankfully, an affected homeowner challenged that plan, exposed the Grant Park move and detailed impacts of building over the drainage swale. The City and developer withdrew two lots on the north end of the development and added a berm and walkway to direct drainage toward the pond in the new Grant Park.

Now the City is again looking at drainage issues, mostly in terms of mitigation. Northfield, take a broader view. Based on past experience, it’s a systemic planning issue. The City needs to adequately plan for drainage, and must also revise the city’s process for review of development proposals and plan infrastructure updates necessary to address weather extremes. Has the City been platting where homes don’t belong, without adequate consideration of drainage needs and water issues?

As the City addresses these material drainage problems, the City must establish preventative planning and platting to avoid this need for costly mitigation.

Carol Overland

Red Wing

That’s the mess that stopped Amtrak’s Coastal Starlight train, and we had to take a bus around it, from Redding down to Sacramento (that leg is up and running again, but now Costal Starlight between San Luis Obispo and LA is down).  Climate change and extreme weather is the theme of the month, particularly during this “vacation” which is turning into a “Climate Change Tour.”

Yesterday’s storm fortunately was focused on southern California, so the Oroville dam area didn’t get hit as hard as was thought earlier:

Deadly storm slams Southern California –

But this Oroville dam safety issue is nothing new:

Releasing water at Oroville Dam a lingering problem

How Did the Oroville Dam Crisis Get So Dire? – The Atlantic

Oroville Dam Disaster Is a Wake-Up Call for Infrastructure Investment

Sacramento Bee –Check out this interactive 3D model of Oroville Dam

For years there has been ongoing safety analysis and scrutiny, yet here we are now. ???  In crisis… many people evacuated, over 180,000 in many cities and surrounding areas:

Look up FERC Docket P-2100 for more info, much is about Thermalito, but much is about Oroville.  It’s about 50/50.  The “good stuff” is CEII, which means that regular folks can’t look.

CEII Generally (FERC)

FERC: CEII – Designation of Incoming Dam Safety Documents

I’d heard there was a 2005 safety report in the relicensing docket, but can’t find a public copy.  Here’s an example of what I found most interesting in the Oroville docket… BUT WAIT… it’s CEII, so we have no way of knowing what’s at issue:

Doc Date/
Filed Date
Description Class/
Files Size
Document Components
P-2100-000 Department of Water Resources under P-2100 submits Ninth Part 12D Independent Consultant’s Safety Inspection Report and Supporting Technical Information Document for Oroville Dam.
Availability: CEII
Report/Form /
Part 12 Consultant Safety Inspection Reports
 PDF     8758K
 PDF     30388K
 PDF     36417K
 PDF     33640K
 PDF     3773K
 PDF     48602K
 PDF     43905K
 PDF     49545K
 PDF     45365K
 PDF     42240K
 PDF     40681K
More Files – See List.


Document Components
P-2100-000 Department of Water Resources submits CEII Potential Failure Mode Analysis Report for Oroville Dam under P-2100.
Availability: Public
Report/Form /
Other Dam Safety Report
 PDF     128K
 FERC Generated PDF     128K


Document Components
P-2100-000 Department of Water Resources submits CEII Potential Failure Mode Analysis Report for Oroville Dam under P-2100.
Availability: CEII
Report/Form /
Other Dam Safety Report
 PDF     153K
 PDF     3056K
 PDF     48629K
 PDF     45437K
 FERC Generated PDF     96911K


P-2100-000 Update to Service List for Pierce Atwood LLP Under P-2100.
Availability: Public
Pleading/Motion /
Procedural Motion
 PDF     166K
 FERC Generated PDF     166K



Thanks to Kelly Fuller for the heads up.  A 2.206 Petition has been filed about the unsafe conditions at the Ft. Calhoun and Cooper plant.  Note that the Petitions were from July, 2011, and it takes six months for it to rise up to the Federal Register.

Here it is:

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 15 (Tuesday, 
January 24, 2012)]
[Page 3515]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government 
Printing Office []
[FR Doc No: 2012-1370]

[[Page 3515]]


[Docket No. 50-285, License No. DPR-40; Docket No. 50-298, 
License No. DPR-46; NRC-2012-0014]

Request for Action Against Omaha Public Power District 
and Nebraska Public Power District

    Notice is hereby given that by petitions dated 
June 26 and July 3, 2011, respectively, Thomas Saporito 
(the petitioner) has requested that the U.S. Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission (NRC or the Commission) take 
escalated enforcement actions against Omaha Public 
Power District, the licensee for Fort Calhoun Station, 
Unit 1 (FCS), and Nebraska Public Power District, the 
licensee for Cooper Nuclear Station (Cooper). The 
petitions dated June 26 and July 3, 2011, are publicly 
available in the NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and 
Management System (ADAMS) under Accession Nos. ML11182B029 
and ML11192A285, respectively.
    The petitioner has requested that the NRC take action
to suspend or revoke the NRC licenses granted for the 
operation of nuclear power reactors and issue a notice 
of violation with a proposed civil penalty against the 
collectively named and each singularly named licensee 
in this matter--in the amount of $500,000 for Fort 
Calhoun Station and $1,000,000 for Cooper. Additionally, 
the petitioner requested that the NRC issue confirmatory 
orders to prohibit restart at FCS and to bring Cooper to 
a ``cold shutdown'' mode of operation until such time as: 
(1) The floodwaters subside to an appreciable lower level 
or sea level; 
(2) the licensee upgrades its flood protection 
(3) the licensee repairs and enhances its current flood 
protection berms; and 
(4) the licensee upgrades its station blackout procedures 
to meet a challenging extended loss of offsite power due 
to floodwaters and other natural disasters or terrorist attacks.
    As the basis for these requests, the petitioner stated 
(1) The licensees' installed flood protection measures 
and systems and barriers at FCS and Cooper are not 
sufficient to adequately protect the nuclear reactor from
a full-meltdown scenario like that currently unfolding in 
Japan; and 
(2) the licensees' station blackout procedures are not 
sufficient to meet a challenging extended loss of offsite 
power due to flood waters and other natural disasters or 
terrorist attacks.
    The requests are being treated pursuant to Title 10 
of the Code of Federal Regulations Section 2.206 of the 
Commission's regulations. The requests have been referred 
to the Director of the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. 
As provided by Section 2.206, appropriate action will be 
taken on these petitions within a reasonable time. The 
petitioner requested an opportunity to address the Petition 
Review Board (PRB). The PRB held a recorded teleconference 
with the petitioner on August 29, 2011, during which the 
petitioner supplemented and clarified the petitions. The 
results of those discussions were considered in the PRB's 
determination regarding the petitioner's requests. As a 
result, the PRB acknowledged the petitioner's concerns 
regarding flood protection, including station blackout 
procedures, at FCS and Cooper. By letter dated January 13, 
2012 (ADAMS Accession No. ML120030022), the Director of the 
NRC's Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation denied the 
petitioner's requests for immediate action. Additionally, 
the PRB noted that: 
(1) Natural disasters such as earthquakes and flooding, 
(2) station blackout regulations are undergoing NRC 
review as part of the lessons learned from the Fukushima 
event. The PRB intends to use the results of the Fukushima 
review to inform its final decision on whether to implement 
the requested
    Copies of the petitions dated June 26 and July 3, 2011, 
are available for inspection at the NRC's Public Document 
Room (PDR), located at One White Flint North, Public File 
Area O1F21, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, 
Maryland 20852. Publicly available documents created or 
received at the NRC are accessible electronically through 
ADAMS in the NRC Library at 
Persons who do not have access to ADAMS or who encounter 
problems in accessing the documents located in ADAMS 
should contact the NRC's PDR Reference staff by 
telephone at 1-(800) 397-4209 or (301) 415-4737, or by 
email to

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 13th day of January 2012.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Eric J. Leeds,
Director, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2012-1370 Filed 1-23-12; 8:45 am]

noflyzoneNot much time to pull this together, but a couple of things to note before I head off to Cannon Falls for the hearing today…  From my stats, it’s clear people want more information — there’s flooding,and it’s a lot:

Interview with Bernard Shanks – from KMOX –  Total Information AM

“Fort Peck dam failed when it was under construction, it failed… 8 men are buried in it…”

… and in response to Shank’s claims, here’s the response from the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Ft. Peck dam operators:

Fort Peck officials work to stay ahead

Increased water release from Ft. Peck dam continues

If you’ve not been to Fort Peck dam, put it on your list and get there.  The campground there is one of the things that will stand out in my memory forever, what a dogforsaken place it was in the 60s…  The ranger came around to say hello, he’d been out shooting rattlesnakes, had a bag full, and cautioned us!


So back to the impacts of the flooding.  There’s water, water everywhere…  surrounding the Fort Calhoun nuclear generating plant, and it’s getting higher, the plant is now completely surrounded by water and sandbags are for now keeping it at bay. June 6, the day of the fire, a no-fly zone was declared that remains today:

Airspace over flooded nuclear plant still closed

OPPD addresses Ft. Calhoun rumors

And here’s the OPPD site:

OPPD Flood Rumor Control

Who needs rumors when we’ve got the truth!

Northfield flood and clean-up

September 26th, 2010

Hot off the press… er… just in on the wire… errrr, wireless! has a great overview!

Cannon River flood news roundups and updates

And the missive hot off the press?

Cleanup is ongoing in Northfield today

Looking Forward: Volunteers Needed!
If you are willing to be called on to help with the clean up effort in the next 2 to 4 weeks, please register to help at . You will be contacted to help out as needed.

Griff Wigley’s phenomenal album of flood photos here

Check this out, I’ve not seen this before in any of the million photos of flood sandbagging, look at this utterly brilliant ladder and cone sandbag technique– only in Northfield (photos stolen from Griff – Fair Use and Full Attribution!!!):