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Erroneous warning sent for Nebraska nuclear plant

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 4, 2014 at 10:43 am •  Published: August 4, 2014

BROWNVILLE, Neb. (AP) — Nearby residents received an alert telling them of problems at Cooper Nuclear Station in southeast Nebraska, but once again it was a false alarm.

Nebraska Public Power District said the National Weather Service sent the warning at 3:48 p.m. Sunday to Nebraska, Missouri and other cellphone users who have requested the service. A correction was sent at 4:01 p.m. assuring people that there was no emergency at the power plant alongside the Missouri River near Brownville.

The district said the weather service will broadcast alert messages to the media, various agencies and the public as part of its emergency response efforts with the states of Nebraska and Missouri and counties in both states.

Bryon Miller of the weather service office in Valley, Nebraska, said the message was sent during an upgrade to software templates Sunday in anticipation of an emergency drill later this week, and it was noticed within seconds.

It was caught before it was transmitted on weather radio, Miller said. Also, he said, Facebook and Twitter postings didn't occur, but messages were posted later to tell people about the errant warning.

On July 24 an erroneous evacuation warning of a hazardous-material spill was broadcast once or twice over a siren speaker in Nemaha, a village of about 150 people situated near the plant some 60 miles from Omaha. The power district said its personnel were troubleshooting the computer system when the siren accidentally played the recorded message.

Miller did not know how many people received the errant warnings.

"Computer systems are supposed to make us more efficient, accurate, and proactive in protecting the public. Unfortunately, they recently have caused confusion," said NPPD President and CEO Pat Pope in a news release. "NPPD asks the public around the plant for its patience and understanding. Work on these computer systems is being done to help — not hinder — our emergency planning and response activities."


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