US orders news blackout over crippled Nebraska Nuclear Plant– Coverup or Hoax?

In the Morning, I came across an article from the Pakistani news source, The Nation, titled US orders news blackout over crippled Nebraska Nuclear Plant.  If this is true, it is terribly troubling–both because of the implications of a nuclear meltdown in the midwestern United States, as well as the idea of a government coverup to try to silence the news media from reporting on it.

However, the news article that is ‘reporting’ on it is of questionable origin.  The general tone of the article stinks of anti-US propaganda, with passages like this:

Obama’s fears of the American people turning against nuclear power, should its true dangers be known, appear to be valid as both Germany and Italy (whose people, unlike the Americans, have been told the truth) have turned against it after the disaster in Japan and vowed to close all of their atomic plants.

Parts of the article sound like it was just written by (presumably American) critics of Obama, since the entire article is blaming him for the coverup, and not the government in general.  Other parts, though, like the passage I quoted above, seem to have more of a general anit-US slant.

So, the author of this article clearly has an agenda, of some sort.  But, does that mean that it is entirely false?  Or is there some grain of truth to this whole thing?

From what I can tell, in the 5-10 minutes I just spent researching this:
  • There is indeed a 4-level scale for rating nuclear power plant ‘events’ in the United States.
  • Fort Calhoun Power Plant recently (June 8, 2011) had a small fire, which caused a partial evacuation, and triggered a level 2 ‘Alert’ event.
  • Fort Calhoun Power Plant issued a level 1 (the least-alarming type of event) event in connection with the flooding of the Missouri River.
  • The FAA has indeed issued a no-fly NOTAM order for the area.
  • There was an article titled “Low-level emergency declared at nuclear power plant” from that was supposedly relating to this flooding alert.  The article is no longer at the URL linked from Wikipedia.  Does this indicate a coverup?  Maybe, maybe not.  Strangely, the retrieved date cited on Wikipedia is a while before the alert was issued by the NRC.  This makes me wonder how likely the link was to ever have been there.
  • There are a lot of random blogs, of varying degrees of crack-pot-itude talking about conspiracies, coverups, etc.  I don’t know if they are all just in the echo chamber, and this was all sparked by that one article from Pakistan, or if there is more to it.  There was an article on a Ron Paul-related blog, linking to the Pakistani article, so it is definitely making its rounds.
Well, that’s all for now.  Lets hope the meltdown & coverup story is just a hoax.
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