Cooper Nuclear Plant takes all safety precautions with training facility

By: Melina Matthes

A Nebraska nuclear plant is going to great lengths to prevent any type of disaster.

At the Cooper Nuclear Power Plant, thousands of tons of concrete encase an unstable element: nuclear fission. While contained, it's safe and provides enough electricity to power more than 500,000 homes a year.

“Nuclear has no carbon footprint but also the amount of power that we get from one sized golf ball. If you looked at one size of golf ball, the amount of power that we get out of that is worth 200 rail cars of coal,” said Project Manager, Chris Pelchat.

Cooper Nuclear Power Plant in Brownville will soon shut down their core for about a month to update and repair the reactor. In preparation, a mock-up reactor and dry-well was created for crews and engineers to rehearse the dangerous and possibly lethal work they will soon be doing.

“We built this mock-up so that our workers can come in, actually practice the assembly and disassembly of these units. See what the physical restrictions in the spacing is so that we can determine the best plan of how to get people in and out, get the matter in and out,” said Project Manage, Jeff Wagner.

It's an extra step, but one Cooper doesn't take lightly to ensure safety of their employees as well as the residents in the surrounding communities. “We just want the rate payers to know that we're being goo stewards and we know that they're our neighbors and we're the people that live right in town along side them and we want them to be comfortable with how we're doing business at Cooper Nuclear Station.”

There will be a public open house Thursday night. Anyone is welcome, but if you can't make it, you can take a virtual tour of the mock-up on Cooper's Facebook page.