Newberry nuclear plant alarm went off accidentally, officials say

jmonk@thestate.comJuly 21, 2013 

SCANA

— A Newberry County emergency warning siren for SCE&G's V. C. Summer Nuclear Station in Fairfield County accidentally sounded Sunday evening about 6 p.m.

"V.C. Summer is operating safely," a power company spokeswoman said later Sunday. She said a crew was dispatched to the siren site to check out out what caused the apparent malfunction. It lasted for less than 20 minutes.

The 29-year-old nuclear power plant is surrounded by a 10-mile wide radius that has some 100 sirens in all throughout what is called the emergency planning zone. The sirens are supposed to sound in the event of an emergency situation at the plant.

The circular zone includes portions of Fairfield, Newberry, Lexington and Richland counties. The Summer nuclear plant produces some 960 megawatts of electricity -- about 20 percent of the company's total electric output. All sirens in the zone are tested quarterly and sound for approximately one minute three times a year and three minutes once a year.

Before each quarterly test, residents are told the exact time and date the sirens will sound.

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