SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WWJ/AP) – False reports that radiation levels were at catastrophic highs near the Cook Nuclear Power Plant near Benton Harbor sent some people in northern Indiana and west Michigan of the state into panic on Thursday.

It turns out an equipment malfunction caused Radiation Network, a company that keeps an eye on counts across the country, to issue the false reading.

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Police and media in the area received a dozen calls and emails from residents concerned about the “dangerously high” readings that had been reported to be “up to 100 times higher than safe levels.”

A News Producer at a WSBT-TV, CBS affiliate in Southbend, Indiana told WWJ Newsradio 950 their phone was ringing off the hook when levels spiked.

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“I’m really the only person here doing the show, so there’s not a whole lot I can do footwork-wise to figure this out, and he (a caller) said ‘You can’t wait that long! This is an emergency … you can’t wait to see what’s going on’,” Ashley Henderson said.

Officials at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission later confirmed that radiation readings were normal.

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