Western Pa. nuclear plant reports false fire alarm

In this Dec. 11, 2012, file photo, part of the containment vessel for a new nuclear reactor at the Plant Vogtle nuclear power plant is under construction in Augusta, Ga. The Energy Department is poised to approve $6.5 billion in lending for two nuclear reactors under construction in Georgia. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz is expected to announce the deal at a speech in Washington on Wednesday, a day before he visits the $14 billion Vogtle nuclear plant being built by Southern Co. and several partners about 30 miles southeast of Augusta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
In this Dec. 11, 2012, file photo, part of the containment vessel for a new nuclear reactor at the Plant Vogtle nuclear power plant is under construction in Augusta, Ga. The Energy Department is poised to approve $6.5 billion in lending for two nuclear reactors under construction in Georgia. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz is expected to announce the deal at a speech in Washington on Wednesday, a day before he visits the $14 billion Vogtle nuclear plant being built by Southern Co. and several partners about 30 miles southeast of Augusta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

SHIPPINGPORT, Pa. (AP) – Officials with a western Pennsylvania nuclear power plant and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission say an “unusual event” report was spawned by a false fire alarm.

NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan says the “unusual event” designation is the lowest emergency classification used by the agency.

Sheehan and officials with FirstEnergy Corp. tell the Beaver County Times that Sunday’s incident at the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station was reported because it took more than 15 minutes to confirm the alarm was false.

Sheehan says any report of a fire that lasts more than minutes – even if it is later unfounded – qualifies as an “unusual event.”

FirstEnergy spokeswoman Jennifer Young says increased humidity from water being used in one area of the plant likely set off a smoke detector. It was reported Sunday, just after midnight.

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