Report: Breakdown of communication behind delay for false alarm correction at Seabrook nuclear plant

New Hampshire officials released a report last week regarding the false alarm at the Seabrook Station nuclear plant that forced beachgoers to quickly empty the shores in a rush of confusion this summer.

According to the report released by the New Hampshire State of Emergency council, there was no plan in place to communicate after false alarms were activated.

Shortly before 11:00 a.m. on July 12, beachgoers heard a recorded message advising them to leave the beaches because of a problem at the Seabrook plant.

“Everyone was running around, our neighbors were asking, ‘do we leave? What should we do?’” said Leah Linnehan told Boston 25.

According to the report, it took 20 minutes for a manager from inside the plant to inform New Hampshire state officials that it was a false alarm.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), released a separate report on the incident which indicated that changes to siren testing procedures caused a breakdown in communication when a Seabrook staffer inadvertently activated the alarm during a routine test.

When a member of the Rockingham County Dispatch Center called the nuclear plant to ask about the alert, a Seabrook employee told him that he could verify that the alert has been activated but could not specify from where.

“Multiple and repeated attempts by Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) staff members to reach Seabrook Station staff were unsuccessful. At 1106 the State Police Communications Supervisor used the NAS phone to call the control room at Seabrook Station and was able to verify there was no emergency,” the report reads.

The technician that inadvertently tripped the alarm has been re-trained and adjustments have been made to ensure clearer lines of communication, including prioritizing the use of the NAS phone in any future case of a false alarm incident.

The New Hampshire official’s full report can be read at this link.

The NRC’s full report can be read at this link.

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