Public emergency alarms sounded in a wide area around the nuclear power plant in Jaslovské Bohunice (Trnava Region) on the evening of Wednesday, August 17. The reason for the alarm has not been officially confirmed, but plant operator Slovenské Elektrárne said that it was triggered by workers installing new sirens for the plant.

The piercing tones, which frightened thousands of people, suggested that many would not be able to react appropriately in the event of a genuine emergency. Emergency lines and phones operated by local municipal authorities failed, and rescue workers and local mayors were provided with no information and consequently had no idea what to tell alarmed citizens.

Regular tests take place at noon on every second Friday in each month and consist of a steady tone of sirens that lasts for two minutes. Wednesday's alarm, by contrast, was a fluctuating signal that is supposed to signal a chemical or nuclear accident. The crisis management department of the Interior Ministry told the Sme daily that in the case of an accident, the alarm would last for two minutes and would be followed by voice announcement.

The incident is being examined by the Nuclear Supervisory Authority.

Source: Sme

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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