Wake County

Shearon Harris nuclear plant’s emergency sirens were a false alarm, police say

The Harris nuclear plant in New Hill is about 22 miles southwest of Raleigh. Duke Energy doesn’t plan to close down the plant during Hurricane Florence but a power outage that feeds electricity to the site would automatically trip off the nuclear reactor.
The Harris nuclear plant in New Hill is about 22 miles southwest of Raleigh. Duke Energy doesn’t plan to close down the plant during Hurricane Florence but a power outage that feeds electricity to the site would automatically trip off the nuclear reactor. File photo

Emergency sirens from Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant were heard early Friday afternoon, prompting officials to assure those in the area that there was no emergency.

The sirens were accidentally activated at 12:58 p.m., according to a tweet by the state Department of Public Safety.

At 1:42 p.m., Wake County released a statement, saying “there is NO emergency at the Harris Nuclear Plant. Individuals near Apex are not in danger and do not need to take action.”

Cary spokeswoman Susan Moran said, “Our 911 center talked to the Shearon Harris Plant, and they said there was a false alarm that went off in Apex.”

The Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant is operated by Duke Energy. It is southwest of Apex, on the shores of Shearon Harris Reservoir and south of Jordan Lake.

Brandon Thomas, a spokesman for the power company, said this afternoon that several sirens in Apex and Cary misfired and that the utility is in the process of checking the sirens.

There are 83 sirens within a 10-mile radius of the plant. Thomas said he wasn’t sure whether any sirens were still blaring.

The alarms at the Wake County nuclear power plant sounded nearly a week after a worker at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency accidentally prompted a text message alert that went out to residents and vacationers on the island falsely warning of an incoming missile.

The incident prompted many questions about why it took state officials 38 minutes to correct the message.

Similar questions about timing are being posed on social media platforms from residents in the path of Shearon Harris emergency exit routes.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Gargan: 919-829-4807; @hgargan

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