Spanish nuclear power station in false alarm scare

AP News
Posted: Jul 08, 2011 3:05 PM
Spanish nuclear power station in false alarm scare

Spain's nuclear watchdog said it was investigating why an alarm at a nuclear power station malfunctioned Friday, sending worried residents in a nearby town scampering to designated evacuation points.

The Nuclear Security Council said it received notification that the speaker system mistakenly went off in the town of Almaraz, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) southwest of Madrid, advising the 1,250 residents to immediately stop what they were doing.

"I got nervous to begin with, the message was very clear, it said 'nuclear emergency warning, all inhabitants to muster points,'" one resident told Spanish state TV.

Town mayor Sabina Hernandez told reporters after her constituents were allowed home that authorities were trying to discover what triggered the alarm. "I wouldn't like to think that it was an act of sabotage," Hernandez said.

The council said in a statement that the power station's two reactors had not malfunctioned, and there were no unusual readings in the area.

The statement said one reactor was switched off for refueling and the other "was operating at 100 percent power."