Duke Energy, county officials to test sirens around Harris Nuclear Plant on April 8

BY RANDALL RIGSBEE, News + Record Staff
Posted 3/28/20

Duke Energy will conduct a scheduled quarterly test of the 83 outdoor warning sirens around Harris Nuclear Plant between 10 and 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 8.

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Duke Energy, county officials to test sirens around Harris Nuclear Plant on April 8

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Posted

NEW HILL — Duke Energy will conduct a scheduled quarterly test of the 83 outdoor warning sirens around Harris Nuclear Plant between 10 and 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 8.

During the tests, the 83 poll-mounted sirens will be sounded for five to 30 seconds, according to Duke Energy officials, who note that all tests of sirens around the nuclear facility are conducted in cooperation with emergency officials, who are responsible for sounding the alarms, in surrounding counties, including Chatham, Harnett, Lee and Wake counties.

The emergency sirens are regularly tested to make sure they work properly. Siren tests are loud and can be heard for several miles, although residents may or may not hear sirens while inside, according to the utility provider. It is important to note, stress Duke Energy officials, that in an emergency, the sirens would sound repeatedly.

Sirens may also be sounded on non-scheduled days after needed maintenance. Local media outlets are notified if sirens are to be tested on a non-scheduled day.

Residents within the 10-mile Harris Nuclear Plant emergency zone are notified in advance of the quarterly tests, which are tested every January, April and July. The annual schedule of tests is included in the 2019-20 Harris Nuclear Emergency Preparedness booklets sent to residents living within the emergency planning zone. Sirens for all six of Duke Energy’s nuclear plants are additionally tested for three-minute periods each October.

“Because this is a test,” a press release from Duke Energy states, “local broadcasting stations will not interrupt regular programming to broadcast Emergency Alert System (EAS) messages. If there were ever a real emergency at the plant requiring the sirens to be sounded, local radio and television stations would broadcast information and instructions to the public.”

While quarterly testing of sirens is routine, Duke Energy plans to upgrade the Harris plant’s siren activation system this year, requiring additional siren testing during several time periods later this year. To ensure the newly-installed equipment is functioning properly, sirens will be individually tested over two weeks in mid-May. During testing in May, sirens will sound briefly, approximately five to 30 seconds. Siren testing will occur between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

More information about the outdoor warning sirens is available at duke-energy.com/NuclearEP.

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