Cooper Nuclear Station

Last updated
Cooper Nuclear Station
Corp of Eng. 6-15-11 108.jpg
The reactor complex on June 15, 2011 during the 2011 Missouri River Floods
CountryUnited States
Location Nemaha County, near Brownville, Nebraska
Coordinates 40°21′43″N95°38′29″W / 40.36194°N 95.64139°W / 40.36194; -95.64139 Coordinates: 40°21′43″N95°38′29″W / 40.36194°N 95.64139°W / 40.36194; -95.64139
Construction beganJune 1, 1968
Commission date July 1, 1974
Construction cost$1.152 billion (2007 USD) [1]
Owner(s) Nebraska Public Power District
Operator(s) Nebraska Public Power District with support services from Entergy Nuclear
Nuclear power station
Reactor type BWR
Reactor supplier General Electric
Thermal capacity1 × 2419 MWth
Power generation
Units operational1 × 769 MW
Make and model BWR-4 (Mark 1)
Nameplate capacity 769 MW
Capacity factor 102.61% (2017)
75.30% (lifetime)
Annual net output 6912 GWh (2017)
External links
Website Cooper Nuclear Station
Commons Related media on Commons

Cooper Nuclear Station (CNS) is a boiling water reactor (BWR) type nuclear power plant located on a 1,251-acre (506 ha) site near Brownville, Nebraska between Missouri River mile markers 532.9 and 532.5, on Nebraska's border with Missouri. It is the largest single-unit electrical generator in Nebraska.

Boiling water reactor type of light water nuclear reactor used for the generation of electrical power

A boiling water reactor (BWR) is a type of light water nuclear reactor used for the generation of electrical power. It is the second most common type of electricity-generating nuclear reactor after the pressurized water reactor (PWR), which is also a type of light water nuclear reactor. The main difference between a BWR and PWR is that in a BWR, the reactor core heats water, which turns to steam and then drives a steam turbine. In a PWR, the reactor core heats water, which does not boil. This hot water then exchanges heat with a lower pressure water system, which turns to steam and drives the turbine. The BWR was developed by the Argonne National Laboratory and General Electric (GE) in the mid-1950s. The main present manufacturer is GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, which specializes in the design and construction of this type of reactor.

Nuclear power plant thermal power station where the heat source is a nuclear reactor

A nuclear power plant or nuclear power station is a thermal power station in which the heat source is a nuclear reactor. As it is typical of thermal power stations, heat is used to generate steam that drives a steam turbine connected to a generator that produces electricity. As of 23 April 2014, the IAEA report there are 450 nuclear power reactors in operation operating in 31 countries.

Brownville, Nebraska Village in Nebraska, United States

Brownville is a village in Nemaha County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 132 at the 2010 census.



CNS is owned and operated by the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), a political subdivision of the state of Nebraska. Management support services for Cooper Nuclear Station is provided by Entergy Nuclear, the nation's second largest nuclear power operator.

Entergy company

Entergy Corp. is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations in the Deep South of the United States. It is headquartered in the Central Business District of New Orleans, Louisiana.

The facility is named after Humboldt natives Guy Cooper, Jr., and Guy Cooper, Sr. [2] The senior Cooper's father, O. A. Cooper, built the first electrical plant in Humboldt in 1890; the two Guy Coopers served a total of 27 years on the board of NPPD and its predecessor agency, Consumers Public Power District. [3]

Humboldt, Nebraska City in Nebraska, United States

Humboldt is a city in Richardson County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 877 at the 2010 census.

CNS was first put into operation in July 1974 and generates approximately 800  megawatts (MWe) of electricity. The plant consists of a General Electric BWR/4 series reactor plant and a Westinghouse turbine generator. The plant has a Mark I containment system.

General Electric American multinational conglomerate corporation

General Electric Company (GE) is an American multinational conglomerate incorporated in New York and headquartered in Boston. As of 2018, the company operates through the following segments: aviation, healthcare, power, renewable energy, digital industry, additive manufacturing, venture capital and finance, lighting, and oil and gas.

Electric generator device that converts other energy to electrical energy

In electricity generation, a generator is a device that converts motive power into electrical power for use in an external circuit. Sources of mechanical energy include steam turbines, gas turbines, water turbines, internal combustion engines and even hand cranks. The first electromagnetic generator, the Faraday disk, was invented in 1831 by British scientist Michael Faraday. Generators provide nearly all of the power for electric power grids.

Containment building reinforced steel or lead structure enclosing a nuclear reactor

A containment building, in its most common usage, is a reinforced steel or lead structure enclosing a nuclear reactor. It is designed, in any emergency, to contain the escape of radioactive steam or gas to a maximum pressure in the range of 275 to 550 kPa. The containment is the fourth and final barrier to radioactive release, the first being the fuel ceramic itself, the second being the metal fuel cladding tubes, the third being the reactor vessel and coolant system.

In 1998, CNS was the first plant in the United States to load nuclear fuel containing uranium that had been provided under the Megatons to Megawatts Program, in which uranium removed from nuclear weapons of the former Soviet Union was turned into low-enriched uranium and then into fuel. [4]

Nuclear fuel material that can be used in nuclear fission or fusion to derive nuclear energy

Nuclear fuel is material used in nuclear power stations to produce heat to power turbines. Heat is created when nuclear fuel undergoes nuclear fission.

Uranium Chemical element with atomic number 92

Uranium is a chemical element with symbol U and atomic number 92. It is a silvery-grey metal in the actinide series of the periodic table. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons. Uranium is weakly radioactive because all isotopes of uranium are unstable, with half-lives varying between 159,200 years and 4.5 billion years. The most common isotopes in natural uranium are uranium-238 and uranium-235. Uranium has the highest atomic weight of the primordially occurring elements. Its density is about 70% higher than that of lead, and slightly lower than that of gold or tungsten. It occurs naturally in low concentrations of a few parts per million in soil, rock and water, and is commercially extracted from uranium-bearing minerals such as uraninite.

The Megatons to Megawatts Program, successfully completed in December 2013, is the popular name given to the program which is also called the United States-Russia Highly Enriched Uranium Purchase Agreement. The official name of the program is the "Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the United States of America Concerning the Disposition of Highly-Enriched Uranium Extracted from Nuclear Weapons", dated February 18, 1993. Under this Agreement, Russia agreed to supply the United States with low-enriched uranium (LEU) obtained from high-enriched uranium (HEU) found to be in excess of Russian defense purposes. The United States agreed to purchase the low-enriched uranium fuel.

In September 2008, NPPD applied to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a renewal of the operating license for CNS, extending it for an additional twenty years. [5] In November 2010 CNS received its license renewal, which was the 60th renewal license to be issued by the NRC. [6]

Nuclear Regulatory Commission United States government agency

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is an independent agency of the United States government tasked with protecting public health and safety related to nuclear energy. Established by the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, the NRC began operations on January 19, 1975 as one of two successor agencies to the United States Atomic Energy Commission. Its functions include overseeing reactor safety and security, administering reactor licensing and renewal, licensing radioactive materials, radionuclide safety, and managing the storage, security, recycling, and disposal of spent fuel.

An agreement was approved in January 2010 by NPPD to extend Entergy's management support services until January 2029. The original contract between the companies, signed in 2003, was for the remaining years of the plant's original operating license, which ran until January 18, 2014.

Surrounding population

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission defines two emergency planning zones around nuclear power plants: a plume exposure pathway zone with a radius of 10 miles (16 km), concerned primarily with exposure to, and inhalation of, airborne radioactive contamination, and an ingestion pathway zone of about 50 miles (80 km), concerned primarily with ingestion of food and liquid contaminated by radioactivity. [7] In 2010, the population within 10 miles of Cooper was 4,414; the population within 50 miles was 163,610. Cities within the 50-mile radius include Nebraska City, with a population of 7,289, located 25 miles (40 km) from the plant. [8] [9]

Seismic risk

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's estimate of the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at CNS was 1 in 142,857, according to an NRC study published in August 2010. [10] [11]


At 0402 CDT on June 19, 2011 a Notification of Unusual Event (the lowest of NRC emergency classifications) was declared due to the elevation of the Missouri River reaching 899.1 feet above mean sea level. This is above the Emergency Action Level HU1.5 elevation of 899 feet. Later, the Missouri River reached 900.6 feet on 6/23/2011 while elevation of 902 feet is the alert level for the plant. [12] [13] The plant left the emergency status at 9:47 a.m., July 12 after the river dropped to 895.8 feet—3 feet below the emergency status level. [14] The nearby Fort Calhoun Nuclear Generating Station also faced flooding during this period.

On March 15, 2019, another Unusual Event low-level emergency was declared at Cooper due to flooding, with a forecast crest that exceeds the 2011 flooding. [15]

See also


  1. "EIA - State Nuclear Profiles". Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  2. "Cooper Nuclear Station". Archived 2008-11-21 at the Wayback Machine Nebraska Public Power District. Retrieved 2011-05-04.
  3. "A Closer Look at Cooper Nuclear Station". Nebraska Public Power District brochure; online at Iowa Homeland Security & Emergency Management website. Retrieved 2011-05-04.
  4. DeVolpi, Alexander; Minkov, Vladimir E.; et al. (2005). Nuclear Shadowboxing: Legacies and Challenges. 2. Kalamazoo, Mich.: DeVolpi. p. VII-54. ISBN   0-9777734-1-8.
  5. "Cooper Nuclear Station". License Renewal Application. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). October 22, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-25.
  6. "Nuclear power plant receives 20-year operating license renewal". Power-Gen Worldwide. PennWell Corporation. November 30, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-10-02. Retrieved 2013-12-13.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  8. Dedman, Bill (April 14, 2011), Nuclear neighbors: Population rises near US reactors, , Accessed 2011-05-01.
  9. Drozd, David. "Nebraska Incorporated Place Census Populations with Changes and Percent Changes: 1980 to 2010". Archived 2012-04-02 at the Wayback Machine Center for Public Affairs Research, University of Nebraska—Omaha. Retrieved 2011-05-04.
  10. Dedman, Bill (Mar 17, 2011). "What are the odds? US nuke plants ranked by quake risk". Retrieved 2011-04-19.
  11. Hiland, Patrick (Sep 2, 2010). "Memorandum, Safety/Risk Assessment Results for Generic Issue 199, 'Implications of Updated Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Estimates in Central and Eastern United States on Existing Plants'" (PDF). NRC. Retrieved 19 Apr 2011.
  12. Kehoe, Benjamin (Jun 20, 2011). "Unusual event declared due to Missouri river flooding". United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, NRC. Retrieved 2011-06-23.
  13. "Flood Facts and Information (June 2011)". Nebraska Public Power District, NPPD. June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-23.
  15. Gardner, Nancy; Chris Peters (March 16, 2019). "Cooper Nuclear Station still operating but preparing for shutdown as Missouri River hits record levels". Omaha World-Herald.

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