Accidental alarm at nuclear plant set off during alarm test

·2 min read

Jul. 13—The alarms heard along the coast near the Seabrook nuclear power plant Tuesday were set off by accident, during a regular test of the plant's emergency notification system.

According to a news release from the New Hampshire Department of Safety, nine of the 121 emergency sirens at the plant were activated by mistake during the tests. Regular alarm tests are required by federal regulation, the department said.

The state worked to get the word out about the false alarm Tuesday, said Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Jennifer Harper said in a statement Wednesday, using phone alerts, social media and a news release. Local police departments also used their social media platforms to say the alarm system had been activated by mistake.

NextEra Energy, the company that owns the Seabrook Station plant, is reviewing what happened, according to the state department of safety.

The state will review what happened with the plant's alarms, according to the Department of Safety, and make sure NextEra implements any recommendations.

Department of Safety Commissioner Robert L. Quinn, said in a statement that as a Seabrook resident he feels confident in the plant's ability to manage any real emergency with the state.

Communities within a 10-mile radius of the Seabrook Station are considered to be in the "emergency preparedness zone" of the plant: Brentwood, East Kingston, Exeter, Greenland, Hampton, Hampton Falls, Kensington, Kingston, New Castle, Newfields, Newton, North Hampton, Portsmouth, Rye, Seabrook, South Hampton and Stratham are all in the zone.

Though the Seabrook Station has not reported any malfunctions since the week it opened in 1990, New Hampshire advises everyone who spends time in the area to be prepared for an emergency. Information can be found at www.readynh.gov/disasters/SeabrookStationEPZPreparednessInformation.htm.

Residents of the zone and businesses in the area can order potassium iodide, a medication that can be used in the event of a nuclear emergency, from the state, and sign up to receive alerts and notifications on their phones at www.readynh.gov.