Three Mile Island begins testing new siren system

The Three Mile Island nuclear power generating station, shown here Monday, March 28, 2011 in Middletown, Pa.. TMI was the scene of the 1979 meltdown of the Unit 2 reactor, the worst nuclear power plant disaster in the United states. (AP Photo/Bradley C Bower)

October 4, 2012 4:22:05 AM PDT
Officials at the Three Mile Island nuclear facility in central Pennsylvania are beginning to test a new emergency siren system.

The first test is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Thursday and will last for three minutes.

Power plant owner Exelon says the sirens have improved sound and better battery backup to ensure they'll work during an electrical outage.

Ninety-six sirens are scattered throughout communities within a 10-mile radius of the facility near Harrisburg. Three more tests are planned through mid-November.

Sixteen sirens in Lancaster County did not sound during a test last year due to a timing glitch, which was later remedied.

The partial meltdown of a Three Mile Island reactor in 1979 is considered the worst commercial nuclear power plant accident in U.S. history.