DECATUR (WATE) - The Tennessee Valley Authority is replacing old emergency alert sirens around each of the three nuclear plants in Tennessee.
The new sirens have a clearer sound and are more reliable with battery backup systems.
"This one is pretty loud. Louder than the other one, which is good, so people can hear it when they are way, way in the country," said business owner Sam Patel.
The sirens being replaced are 30 years old. The new sirens are electric.
"The technology has changed. The effectiveness of the sirens, the efficiency of the sirens has changed, and we're doing this for the good of our neighbors and to make sure we protect the health and safety of our neighbors," said TVA Emergency Preparedness Program Manager Al Salatka.
So far, crews have installed about half of the new ones around Watts Bar.
"The sirens are used to warn the public and the transients - the people that use the lakes and the campgrounds - of a radiological emergency at Watts Bar. They would be activated by the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency," Salatka added.
People who live near the sirens say they are very loud and very effective. Residents say they're glad the sirens are there.
"If we didn't have that, then we wouldn't have any. We wouldn't know what was going on and we wouldn't have a chance to get out of harm's way. I have three young kids, so you know that's the most important thing to me, is making sure they're okay," said Kelly Cowart, who lives near one of the sirens.
The cost to install sirens around all three nuclear plants is $6-7 million.
Crews are scheduled to finish installing the new sirens at the end of April.