Prairie Island nuclear plant - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Prairie Island nuclear plant

PRAIRIE ISLAND (KTTC)--  An alert was issued this morning at the Prairie Island Nuclear Plant after a pipe line broke. Hazmat was on the scene. Classes were delayed at nearby schools...

The situation could have been a lot worse, unfortunately local residents thought it was.

The alert came in just before 4a.m. Thursday morning. The plant is located about 6 miles northwest of Redwing.

What naturally is an alarming situation was made even worse as a result of miscommunication and false reports.

Nearly 250 people live in the shadows of the nuclear power plant. The Prairie Island Nuclear Plant has been adjacent to the small community for about 30 years, nevertheless when something like this happens, it can still send people into a frenzy.

Prairie Island Tribal President Johnny Johnson says, "Our members are on pins and needles, our biggest fear is that there will be some type of accident at the plant."

That fear was ignited when reports of a chemical spill hit broadcast and social media outlets around the Prairie Island Community.

Johnny explains, "Unfortunately those initial reports included a ticker at the bottom of the television screen reported that there was a radiation leak at the plant and that the schools in Prescott and Ellsworth, Wisconsin were closed and delayed because of the leak."

However, Excel Energy says no radio-active material was actually released and there is no danger to the public or plant workers.

Prairie Island Tribal Secretary Ron Johnson states, "The media needs to adhere to that and report accurately. This is nothing to mess with, it could have created panic, chaos and nobody knows."

It's worth noting, KTTC did not report a radio active leak - only that there was a chemical spill.

The 500 gallon bleach spill was caused by a 2 inch break in a pipe going to a tank containing bleach used to cool the plant.

The leak is fully contained, however clean up continues at the site today....

Ron says, "We have a manual that is set in place and we institute that until we get a notification from the plant that everything's been clear."

The plant has two units and both are operating in full. To put things in perspective, the Prairie Island Nuclear Plant generates enough power for nearly 1 million homes.

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