Just days after false alarms went off in Hawaii and Japan, causing widespread public panic, sirens went off outside of the Harris Nuclear Power Plant near Raleigh, North Carolina. Once again, panicked residents thought a disaster was looming. Once again, it turned out to be another false alarm due to a malfunction.
Authorities and plant officials are still trying to determine exactly why the sirens went off Friday afternoon, as well as how long they sounded. Since no siren tests were scheduled for Friday, residents were understandably concerned.
According to reports, plant officials and local authorities responded quickly to the incident, calming fears.
A malfunction caused public warning sirens to sound a false alarm Friday near a North Carolina nuclear power plant, authorities said.
North Carolina’s Department of Public Safety said the sirens around 1pm near the Harris Nuclear Plant were a false alarm.
‘There is NO emergency at the Harris Nuclear Plant,’ public safety officials said in a tweet.
Duke Energy issued a news release saying the sirens malfunctioned, and that the plant southwest of Raleigh was operating safely.
The sirens were heard near the towns of Apex and Cary.
The company said it was investigating the cause along with state and local government officials.
Spokesman Brandon Thomas said it wasn’t immediately clear how many sirens went off and for how long.
The system of warning sirens is placed in a 10-mile radius around the plant.
While a test sounding was conducted earlier in the month, no tests had been scheduled for Friday, according to a Duke Energy website.
Several residents took to Twitter to voice a mixture of concern and bemusement about hearing the power plant alarms days after a missile warning false alarm in Hawaii.
The mishap at the plant had Twitter users posting hilarious memes in response.
Hawaii lawmakers were holding a hearing Friday to discuss a false alarm last weekend that warned of a ballistic missile headed for the island state.
Hawaii officials apologized repeatedly and said the alert was sent when someone hit the wrong button during a shift change.
They vowed to ensure it would never happen again.
Japanese public broadcaster NHK issued a false alarm on Tuesday saying North Korea appeared to have launched a missile and urging people to take shelter, but it managed to correct the error within minutes.
The North Carolina plant, also known as Shearon Harris for its namesake power executive, has a massive 523-foot cooling tower that can be seen from surrounding highways.
The plant in New Hill began generating power in 1987.