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Nebraska City News-Press - Nebraska City, NE
  • NPPD responds to questions over NWS messages

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  • BROWNVILLE - An emergency message from a local nuclear plant was issued inadvertently by the National Weather Service at mid-afternoon on Sunday while the computer system was being updated.
        
    This was the second inadvertent message in the past two weeks from the Cooper Nuclear Station that has been sent out by mistake.
        
    According to a Nebraska Public Power District press release, the first false alarm happened on July 24 while NPPD employees were working on the computer system linked with a siren in Nemaha County.
        
    “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. “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.”  
        
    Cooper Nuclear Station is a part of the NPPD. The NWS broadcast alert messages to the media, various agencies and the public as a part of its emergency response efforts between NPPD, counties and states.
        
    Part of owning a nuclear power plant involves safely maintaining and operating a facility to generate electricity, and to also notify and prepare the public of emergency situations that could arise at the plant. According to the press release, NPPD and Cooper Nuclear Station work with many agencies in order to provide a collective and unified response of information. Those agencies stretch from Atchison County in Missouri and Nemaha County in Nebraska to the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency and State of Missouri Emergency Management Agency to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
        
    NWS issued Sunday's false message at 3:48 p.m., sent a correction at 4:01 p.m. and then put a message on its website explaining the error.
        
    "NPPD practices its emergency response efforts by conducting drills or exercises at each of its generation facilities, including Cooper. The drills and exercises conducted at Cooper are more extensive, involve multi-state, county and local agencies and also involve practice on disseminating public information," the release stated.
       

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