McGuire nuclear plant sirens sound ... but it was a mistake

The sirens around McGuire Nuclear Station on Lake Norman began wailing Thursday morning, but Duke Energy officials say it was a mistake.

The sirens, which are supposed to alert residents of an emergency at the nuclear power plant or some other type of weather or civil emergency, began sounding about 10:30 a.m. The plant is near N.C. 73, west of Huntersville.

“As part of the ... testing, the sirens should have been silently tested,” Duke spokeswoman Valerie Patterson said. “However, the test was audible in error.”

Several residents of the area contacted the Observer on Thursday morning, asking whether an emergency had been declared.

Patterson said the sirens are tested silently twice a week. Once every three months, the sirens at the McGuire and Catawba nuclear stations are sounded audibly as a test. The last test took place in early April, and the next isn’t scheduled until July.

“We regret any inconvenience or cause for concern that this created for the public,” Patterson said.

By late Thursday afternoon, Duke officials said the siren system at the McGuire plant had been repaired.