A long-simmering dispute over the effectiveness of warning sirens for the Indian Point nuclear power plant flared up yesterday as plant officials prepared to test a system Westchester and Rockland County officials claim is broken.

At issue are the 156, 500-pound rotating sirens in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Orange counties which are to alert more than 300,000 residents of an emergency situation at the Buchanan site.

Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano said some of the sirens fail to rotate and, as a result, there are “dead spots” behind them covering entire neighborhoods. In a true emergency, he explained, these residents would have to be notified by police using bullhorns traversing every street in the affected area.

“If they don’t rotate,” Spano said, “half the people who are supposed to hear the sirens do not hear them. We don’t have the manpower to notify them.”

Dan Greeley, assistant director of fire and emergency services for Rockland County, said his agency has no way of knowing if all the sirens are working and have to send out police with bullhorns through many areas.

“We addressed this problem with the NRC and they just sent back a reply that we might as well just ask the utilities,” he said.

Officials at Entergy Nuclear Northeast, which owns the plant, declined to comment.

Spano said Entergy should pay for a new, better working system.

“If they can advertise on the Yankee games, they have the money to fix the [expletive] sirens.”“

This article originally appeared in the Poughkeepsie Journal