BROWNVILLE – Residents received a false alarm Thursday morning from the Cooper Nuclear Station about a hazardous materials leak, but the issue was resolved quickly.
According to a press release from the Nebraska Public Power District, an "erroneous vocal broadcast" was sent out while technicians were troubleshooting and testing the emergency siren.
The incident occurred some time before noon on Thursday.
"It was a voice broadcast that basically said there was a hazardous spill and they should be evacuating," said NPPD Media Relations Specialist Mark Becker. "The guy hit the switch, and the next thing you know, this prepackaged announcement was being made."
No evacuation was made, and the error was reported soon after; although the facility had received one phone call from a resident at the time of this report.
There have been no major emergency situations at the facility in the last several years, but a flooding incident in the early 1990s caused a shutdown, Becker said.
"Protecting the health and safety of the public is – and always will be – the utmost priority for the Cooper staff," said Meshelle Ferguson, the facility’s emergency preparedness manager. "It's something we take very seriously. Personnel are investigating the cause of the broadcast and will take steps to ensure any such messages are not broadcast in the future."
According to the release, NPPD helps serve an estimated 600,000 Nebraskans in 86 counties with retail or wholesale electric power and energy-related products and services.