The Missouri River rose to within 18 inches of forcing the shutdown of a nuclear power plant in southeast Nebraska but stopped and ebbed slightly, a plant spokesman said today. The river has to hit 902 feet above sea level at Brownville before officials will shut down the Cooper Nuclear Plant, which sits at 903 feet. It rose to 900.56 feet yesterday, then dropped to 900.4 feet later in the day and remained at that level this morning.
The plant has been preparing for the flooding since May 30. More than 5,000 tons of sand has been brought in to construct barricades around it and access roads. The Army Corps of Engineers said the river level at Brownville had surged about 2 feet from Saturday morning to yesterday morning and that it continued to rise because of heavy rain on the Nishnabotna River, which flows into the Missouri River from Iowa, and due to some erosion along a levee upstream at Hamburg, Iowa. (Read more Missouri River stories.)