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Published: Wednesday, 7/9/2014

Storm likely culprit of false fire alarm at Davis-Besse

OAK HARBOR, Ohio — FirstEnergy Corp. declared an unusual event at Davis-Besse nuclear power plant Tuesday morning after a fire alarm inside the Ottawa County nuclear plant’s radioactive-containment building accidentally went off.

The alarm appears to have been activated by lightning from a storm that passed through the area, Jennifer Young, FirstEnergy spokesman, said.

Not knowing if it had a real emergency on its hands, the utility suited up a team in protective clothing to enter the containment area while the plant was operating.

The team found no evidence of fire or smoke. An adjacent alarm did not go off, and the reactor’s operating temperature, pressure, and other indicators remained stable — all signs there was not actually a fire, she said.

The unusual event declaration was made at 9:37 a.m. It ended at 1:28 p.m., at which point the plant resumed normal operation, Ms. Young said.

Viktoria Mitlyng, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman, said the government agency has no reason to believe it was anything but a false alarm, based on information FirstEnergy provided. A report is to be made publicly available this morning on the NRC’s Web site, www.nrc.gov, she said.

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