“Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano yesterday urged federal regulators to determine whether sirens set up to signal an emergency at the Indian Point nuclear-power plants are working properly.
In a letter to Samuel Collins, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s new regional administrator, Spano said that during a Dec. 15 test of the siren system — needed to alert 300,000 residents in four counties of an emergency — sensors indicated that two sirens, in Peekskill and Yorktown, did not rotate and could not be heard by all residents.
But Entergy Nuclear Northeast, which operates the plants and maintains the system, said sensors that gauge rotation malfunctioned during the test, adding that the sirens were fully operational.
“What really needs to be done is for this 25-year-old, archaic siren system to be scrapped entirely and replaced with modern technology,” Spano said in a separate statement. He asked the NRC to review the entire system and to require backup generators for the sirens in case of a power outage.
Jim Steets, an Entergy spokesman, said sensors in the recently upgraded, $2.6 million system falsely indicated that sirens weren’t rotating. He said the company’s on-site inspectors monitored each of the county’s 156 sirens and confirmed rotation, though other problems caused the volume at the two sites to be too low.
“Mr. Spano knows this system is better than it ever was. He also knows we don’t have a rotation problem,” Steets said.“
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