Peekskill – Two-thirds of the new warning sirens are in place, and are being tested, in the ten-mile radius around the Indian Point Energy Center. All 150 sirens are to be installed by sometime early next year.

Entergy officials told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, at a public meeting in Peekskill on Friday, that the new system relies strongly on redundancy to ensure reliability, as well as multi-level power backup to keep the system, and each of the individual sirens, working in the event of a power failure.

The current system, using out-of-date custom software from multiple vendors, is causing more frequent problems, although Entergy’s Director of Emergency Planning Mike Solbodien defines that as working “98 percent of the time”, instead of 100 percent.

How Entergy is coping with the current system was the subject of extended NRC probing during the first part of the almost three-hour meeting.

Solbodien, said they have learned some hard lessons from their efforts to make the old system work.

“We’re using more than one technology. It’s all commercial, off-the-shelf technology. It’s all tested technology. And, it’s redundant, so, we have many things doing the same thing, physically separately and operationally separately, so we have the highest insurance the system will work at all times.”

Solbodien and other Entergy officials said the new system is fully integrated with New York State’s current high-tech emergency notification system.

Energy’s Indian Point Site Vice President Fred Dacimo said the four-faceted system will, in his words be a 21ste century “public information system that will be a model for the rest of the nation”.

The afternoon session was sparsely attended. About half the roughly 100 people in the room were either with the NRC or Entergy. That drew fire from one of the four citizens who spoke.

Mark Jacobs, of the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, took the NRC to task for holding the meeting in the afternoon, instead of the usual evening time. Deputy Regional Administrator Mark Dapas took responsibility for the scheduling, noting that typically, this sort of meeting would normally take place at their regional office near Philadelphia.

Other questions raised during public comment dealt with the scope and reliability of the planned backup system, and with security of the software against outside hacking.

To view the complete article, search the archive at the link below: