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E. Benjamin Nelson's letter to Brig. Gen.

John McMahon: June 29, 2009 Dear General McMahon: As the Missouri River continues to experience record levels of flooding, I wanted to follow up on our meeting, held in my Washington, D.C. office last Thursday, to discuss management of this flood by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps). As stated during that meeting, it will be necessary for the Corps to do a full-scale assessment of its procedures and actions along the Missouri River once the floodwaters recede to ensure that those affected by the flood - and the American people as a whole have satisfactory answers as to why this event happened and how we can avoid such devastation in the future. As I also noted, people in my home state of Nebraska understandably have a lot of questions and anxiety about the flooding and how it is going to impact their safety, their property and their belongings. Clear and accurate communication is critical and must be a priority. With this in mind, I wanted to bring to your attention some comments in an article from yesterday's Omaha World Herald, "Nuke Plant Safe Amid Unique Peril" (copy enclosed). In this article, Corps spokesman Erik Blechinger stated, "Nebraska's two nuclear plants aren't being factored into the Army Corps of Engineers schedule of dam releases." He went on to say, "Flood-risk reduction is our priority right now. We are working closely with OPPD and NPPD, so I would never say that we wouldn't consider adjusting releases, but I can't imagine all the possible scenarios. Currently, there is just no flexibility in the system." Given our discussion last week on the Corps' responsibility to protect the people, communities, and infrastructure along the Missouri River, additional concern and caution would seem necessary in addressing the two nuclear facilities. While the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) maintains that both the Omaha Public Power District's (OPPD) Fort Calhoun Nuclear Generating Station and the Nebraska Public Power District's (NPPD) Cooper Nuclear Station remain safe, given the current forecasts projected for the Missouri River, there is still concern that the stations would be vulnerable if there is a continued rise in the River's level, potentially putting the public at risk. Consequently, I would ask you to clarify whether the Corps will consider the safety of Nebraska's two nuclear plants adjacent to the Missouri River as dam releases are scheduled. I also wish to learn more as to what steps the Corps is taking in conjunction with the NRC, OPPD, and NPPD to ensure the structural integrity of the structures protecting the Fort Calhoun and Cooper Nuclear Stations. General, given the heightened state of concern from the public at large regarding the flood's impact on Nebraska's two nuclear facilities, I am certain you are appreciative of the

trepidation arising from the above comments by the Corps. As such, I request an expedited response to my questions herein. If you need further information from me in order to respond, please contact me directly or have your staff contact Erick Lutt of my staff at (202) 224-6551. Sincerely, E. Benjamin Nelson United States Senator