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Nuclear plant owner says false alarm happened during testing

Nine of 121 sirens for Seabrook nuclear power plant were mistakenly activated for an emergency broadcast Tuesday. N.H. officials are seeking answers on what transpired.
Dan Tuohy
/
NHPR
Nine of 121 sirens for Seabrook nuclear power plant were mistakenly activated for an emergency broadcast Tuesday. N.H. officials are seeking answers on what transpired.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire is requesting a full review of what caused an emergency alarm to befalsely activated at the Seabrook Nuclear Power Station earlier this week after what she called "a breakdown in communications" transpired between the plant, state and local officials.

The emergency alarm went off Tuesday morning, warning many in the area that there was a problem at the plant and advising them to evacuate the vicinity.

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"This caused chaos and left police, fire and state and local officials with few answers," Shaheen, a Democrat, wrote in a letter to the president of NextEra Energy, the plant owner, on Thursday. "I am deeply concerned with the insufficient communication during and in the aftermath of this inadvertent alarm."

One of the siren poles along the N.H. coastline for Seabrook Station, the nuclear power plant on the western edge of Hampton-Seabrook harbor.
Dan Tuohy
/
NHPR
One of the siren poles along the N.H. coastline for Seabrook Station, the nuclear power plant on the western edge of Hampton-Seabrook harbor.

The state Homeland Security and Emergency Management agency and NextEra Energy put out statements Tuesday saying the alarm was false more than 30 minutes after beachgoers in nearby Hampton and Rye said they heard announcements at about 11 a.m. about the beaches being closed because of a problem at the plant.

Brian Booth, the plant's site vice president, sent a letter to Gov. Chris Sununu on Friday, saying the siren system was inadvertently activated during routine testing. He wrote that the company is investigating and will take steps to ensure it doesn't happen again, WMUR-TV reported.

The plant is about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Boston and 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of Portsmouth. It has operated since 1990.

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