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Nuclear plant to test warning sirens in West Valley

PHOENIX -- The Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station and other agencies will test out 50 outdoor warning sirens in the far West Valley on Wednesday.

If you're among the 15,000 people who live within a 10-mile radius of Palo Verde or will be driving on Interstate 10 in that area at noon or 12:30, you won't miss the sound of dozens of warning sirens going off at about 100 decibels.

"It's definitely going to be loud," said Pete Weaver with the Maricopa County Division of Emergency Management. "Definitely will hurt your ears."

Weaver said the sirens will be loud enough that drivers on I-10 hear them so the Arizona Department of Transportation will post signs informing them of the test.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and the Arizona Department of Public Safety are part of the drill, along with ham radio operators.

"The volunteers from the West Valley Amateur Radio Club, Tri-City Amateur Radio Club and other ham radio operators will be stationed at each siren and immediately report the siren activation to emergency managers," Weaver said.

Weaver said these sirens and systems would work in the event that the Internet went down during an emergency.

"We are so technology minded these days," he said. "If everything is based around the new technology and if they fail, we wouldn't have these alert systems. These sirens are systems that are tested and true and have weathered the years."

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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