Homes around Indian Point to get emergency radios

Posted: Updated:

Nearly 2,500 special emergency radios will be distributed to households around Indian Point to help warn residents in the event of an emergency.

The new tone alert radios, or TARS, will supplement the 172 emergency sirens already in place. The radios will be distributed for free on a voluntary basis and will assist residents who may not be able to hear the standard alarms in some areas.

However, some Entergy officials say both the sirens and the radios are only a stopgap safety measure.

?We really see the pathway to the future as being electronic devices,? says Anthony Sutton, commissioner of Westchester emergency services. ?Whether you have a cell phone or a Blackberry on your hip...that's really the way to reach people today.?

The introduction of the radios comes only days before the Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected to approve an upgraded siren system, which has been in the works for the past two and a half years.

Entergy, which owns Indian Point, imposed its own deadline of Aug. 14 to have the upgraded siren system up and running.

?Right now we believe the system meets all federal requirements,? says Entergy spokesperson Jerry Nappi. ?It's ready to be placed into service shortly. We're just waiting for FEMA to do its final review.?

In the past, Entergy has been fined by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for failing to meet deadlines for the siren system, part of which was tested in Rockland County this week.

?Once everything is done and the new system is in operation, we would step back and decide what final enforcement action would be,? says Neil Sheehan, NRC spokesperson. ?No decisions has been made thus far.?

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