Nuclear Siren Raises Questions About Our Readiness


Jaslovske Bohunice Nuclear Power Plant (c) MarkBA

Residents within a 20 km radius from the nuclear power plant Jaslovske Bohunice were shaking in their shoes yesterday around 5pm when a nuclear warning siren wailed out suddenly without prior notice.

The emergency services number 112 and police emergency number 158 were soon frozen as people tried to find out if they should run for their lives or if it was just a false alarm. This kind of siren should only go off if there is some general public threat, but luckily this time round it was due to a mistake while the warning system at the plant was being serviced.

Jana Burdova, spokeswoman for Slovenske elektrarne, which owns and operates the  nuclear power plant, informed that a new system of 330 sirens was being upgraded and that instead of a silent alarm an audible one was set off. The contractor will have to explain off the mistake to the management of the power producer, which is 66% owned by Italian energy giant Enel.

The incident is to be investigated also by the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (UJD), but this latest incident could stop people from reacting appropriately next time, when the nuclear threat might be for real. In general, most people hearing a warning siren don’t react, thinking it must just be some kind of test.

This then raises the question as to how quickly the state can notify people about some nuclear accident, and if the measures in place are sufficient.The emergencu services number have been blocked and inaccessible several times over the past few months, so it can hardly be relied on. The sirens themselves can only be heard up to 21 km, so bad luck for the rest of us who are more distant.

Slovakia claims that its nuclear power plants Jaslovske Bohunice and Mochovce are secure and have passed all necessary safety tests, but surely the Japanese were even more sure about the standard of their nuclear power plants than the old Soviet VVER-440 reactors that Slovakia boasts.

People might now at least start taking the threat of a nuclear disaster more seriously, so maybe it is time to start digging those bunkers and stocking up on tins of baked beans.


  1. George M: I watched the Slovak news last night, for the first time in ages and listened to all the old folks and their total confusion at hearing the siren . I mean what is the point of a siren, if all it does is just confuse people ..not hard really with mostly low IQ and dimwit Slovaks I know . Then to bug up the 911 exchange number, with panic phone calls of inquiry, what to do next ? Very useful !

    1. Yes, it even took even the local mayor of Velke Kostolany between 1-15 minutes to find out what was happening, and he did it by calling the plant director direct. The same was true of the emergency services number 112. It didn’t know what was happening and so could not tell people anything until about 15 minutes, after getting through to the plant on a third attempt. They had no info beforehand that tests or work on the system were being carried out. Then the whole system collapsed from the number of incoming calls. A similar false alarm happened two years ago, so in the event of a real disaster, people will probably just put the kettle on.

  2. Run where and which direction exactly when the siren goes….you cannot see Nuclear pollution? Higher ground perhaps , because of the incoming Tsumami

    I would also say the last thing you need in a small nuke bunker, is a group of Slovaks being fed on tins of Baked Beans …..

    1. Yeah George, there could be more fallout in the shelter with that diet, I guess

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