UPDATE: Farley Nuclear Plant Declares Alert Over CO2 Leak

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COLUMBIA, Ala. (AP) -- The "alert" status for Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Power Plant was lifted at 11:10 a.m. Unit 1 and 2 are operating safely at 100 percent power.

A carbon dioxide leak prompted an Alabama nuclear plant to declare an alert, though federal authorities say the issue does not threaten the public.

Southern Co. spokesman Ike Pigott said a carbon dioxide release was detected in an auxiliary building of the Unit 1 reactor at Plant Farley around 5:20 a.m. Saturday.

An initial investigation suggests that the gas came from a fire suppression system, though no fires were detected. Pigott said the volume of gas was equivalent to what might be released from a large fire extinguisher.

Both reactors continued operating normally. No other equipment failures were reported. No radiation was released.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Roger Hannah said federal inspectors were monitoring the incident, but they do not believe it poses any threat to the public.

The Dothan/Houston County Emergency Management Agency, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency were advised that an incident classified as an “ALERT” has been declared at the Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Power Plant. An alert is the second least serious of four nuclear plant emergency classifications assigned by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. This means that certain events could degrade or have degraded the level of safety at the power facility.

There has been no radiation release so NO protective actions are required at this time for the public’s health and safety.

Houston County officials and Alabama Emergency Management Agency will keep the public informed of any changes or developments in the situation at Plant Farley. Protective actions will be recommended if they become necessary.

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