BUCHANAN -Indian Point officials want a face-to-face meeting with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to make sure they know exactly what will satisfy regulators who so far have found the nuclear plant's new siren system "inadequate."
In a 12-page letter obtained by The Journal News, the company said it wants to go over in detail with FEMA officials the unresolved technical issues such as volume, sustainability of siren sound and overall system reliability.
Jim Steets, a spokesman for plant owner Entergy Nuclear, acknowledged yesterday that the in-depth, in-person discussions would further delay the new sirens' operation.
"It's impossible to know how long it will take us," Steets said. "We're committed to moving quickly, but only to FEMA's satisfaction."
Until then, the current system will remain in place to warn residents in Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Orange counties that they need to seek information about a possible emergency.
The company's letter followed up on a promise that Entergy Nuclear's chief executive officer, Michael Kansler, made to the public less than two weeks ago to ensure the "highest expectations for performance." Kansler acknowledged that Entergy had "failed to meet a key communications goal - listening."
Entergy also asked to put together with FEMA officials a new schedule for completing the $15 million, trouble-plagued siren system, which has already missed three deadlines and cost the company $130,000 in fines.
FEMA officials didn't speak to the specifics of Entergy's letter yesterday, but a spokesman said the agency continues to seek a reliable system for the region's residents.
"FEMA has been and continues to work together with officials from both Entergy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to ensure that the health and safety of the general public can be adequately protected if an emergency were to happen," Michael Widomski of the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA wrote to The Journal News via e-mail.
NRC officials said they would continue to monitor the progress of the siren installation, which FEMA oversees for the nuclear agency. There has been no change in the NRC's wait-and-see position regarding Entergy's latest missed deadline of Aug. 24.