Bones Found at Michigan Nuclear Plant May Be Human

A Michigan sheriff’s department is determining whether bones that washed into an American Electric Power Co. nuclear plant yesterday are human remains.

Divers clearing storm debris from the Donald C. Cook nuclear plant on Lake Michigan yesterday found the bone fragments. The twin-reactor plant, located in Bridgman, Michigan, reported the find to local law enforcement officials and federal regulators, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in a daily report posted on its website.

Berrien County sheriff’s officials collected the bones and are determining if they are human, Bill Schalk, a plant spokesman, said in a phone interview.

“Obviously, it’s quite rare” for bones to turn up in a nuclear plant’s water intake system, Scott Burnell, a spokesman for the federal atomic agency, said in an e-mail. “Of course, the report did say ‘potential human remains,’ so we’ll see what the local law enforcement agencies determine.”

Divers found 6-inch (15 centimeter) and 4-inch bone fragments as they cleaned rocks, driftwood and other debris from screens that filter lake water that flows into the plant through three 16-foot-wide tunnels, Schalk said.

A spokesman for the Berrien County’s sheriff’s office in St. Joseph, Michigan, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.