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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

US: Evacuation of nuclear power plant in Wisconsin

Hundreds of employees were evacuated from a nuclear power plant for several hours Tuesday because a clerk at a nearby convenience store misunderstood a comment by a new plant worker.

A man entered the store about 7:15 a.m. and asked for directions to the Point Beach nuclear power plant, the clerk told Two Rivers police. As the man was leaving, the clerk heard him say he "came to blow up the place," authorities said.

She called police, who tracked down the man's rental car at the power plant.

He told FBI agents he was a contractor reporting for his first day at the plant, and said that what he told the clerk was that he "hoped he wouldn't blow up the place" because of his inexperience, police said.

Authorities searched his vehicle and found no evidence of a threat. The man was identified only as a 23-year-old from Hull, Mass.

About 450 nonessential employees out of the roughly 500 people at the site were evacuated for less than four hours, said plant spokeswoman Sara Cassidy.

"There's a zero-tolerance policy whenever you have anything like this," Cassidy said. "If we have a situation where people make a threat, we're going to make sure we're taking every precautionary measure we can."

The plant is on the Lake Michigan shore at Two Rivers, in Manitowoc County about 50 kilometres south of Green Bay. It's owned by FPL Energy based in Juno Beach, Fla.

(Source: The Canadian Press)

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