Dear Andrew Spano:
First, I made not one, but three phone calls to the Westchester Emergency Management offices and left messages...none of which were returned. Out of desperation, I escalated my efforts and made contact with the State Emergency Response folks in Albany, who with great arm twisting finally consented to send me one in the mail. Upon it's arrival at my house, I immediately began reading through the document, wanting to make sure that myself and my family WERE PREPARED for an incident should one occur. At first blush, I was amazed at how little real information was in the booklet, and secondly, spotted what I felt amounted to a serious, even FATAL FLAW in the plan.
In case of an incident (such a NICE WORD) at the plant, the booklet tells us that we would be A) evacuated, or B) sheltered in place. The booklet goes on to tell us, that sheltering in place in case of incident would be employed (one example) in such situations as inclement weather, such as a winter snow storm that made roads impassable, and travel unsafe. It goes on to instruct us to follow the SIMPLE LIST of instructions found in the booklet for sheltering in place should such and event occur...let's take a look at the first four items in that list.
1. Stay in doors. DUH...what, do you folks think we are going to run out on our front porches to watch the plume as it approaches? LOOK MA, here comes the PLUME!
2. Close all doors and windows. Middle of winter, a snow storm with a PLUME heading our way, do you really think we need to be told this?
3. Turn off your heater/furnace...according to Mr. Sweeney at the Westchester Emergency Management office, as well as spokespersons from Indian Point, this is necessary to keep from bringing potentially contaminated air into the home and/or structure where you are being sheltered.
4. Close all flues as dampers for fireplaces and/or wood stoves, again for the same reasons as outlined in number three above.
HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM
Now, I am not the brightest bulb in the pack, but a thought immediately popped into my head, and I started making some calls to GET AND ANSWER to what I felt was a fairly simply question.
If we follow these instructions, and are sheltered in place with no heat source, how long do we have before the effects of hypothermia begin setting in.
Mr. Sweeney could not answer the question for me, and in fact got rather hostile when I pushed for and answer...he in fact stated there was no need for such in depth analysis in the Emergency Response Plan...so, Entergy, various public agencies, and finally you Andrew Spano are going to make a decision to SHELTER US IN PLACE in the middle of winter with NO CLUE as to how long we could be sheltered in place before suffering the negative effects of hypothermia, including DEATH?
I made this inquiry of your county Health Department, FEMA, Entergy and the NRC, and not one of them could answer the question, though each and every one of these government agencies admitted a brought up a LEGITAMITE point of concern, with the spokes woman from Entergy today even going so far as to suggest the booklet might need to be reviewed and reworded.
Another person from Indian Point went on to suggest that maybe I should make more adequate preparations for this possibility, such as securing a generator in case we have no power on the grid in the immediate area, the purchasing of secondary means of heating my home, so forth on so. Now, these would be items purchased for the possibility of a Nuclear Incident at the failing and antiquated Indian Point Nuclear Plant. To properly prepare my home for such a WINTER NUCLEAR INCIDENT, and being sheltered in place would cost myself and every other home owner in the area some $2,500-$3,000...if these are commodities that would be required and incorporated into the Emergency Plan for Indian Point, should these up front preparedness costs not be incurred by Indian Point? Is it fair to expect the citizens of the area to absorb what should be a Indian Point cost of doing business in our area, and making sure we are kept case should there be and incident. When I brought this up with a spokesperson from Indian Point they scoffed at such a preposterous idea, telling me if I want to be safe, I should take the steps necessary to do so...to which I posed the question, "and if I or another household cannot afford those costs?" That question was met with silence.
Moving on with my concerns about the plan, I pointedly asked Mr. Sweeney to tell me specifically how many people the various assorted reception centers could hold in the case of an incident at the plant that required FULL EVACUATION of the surrounding areas...first, he told me that was highly unlikely, but I pushed on by asking him, "Yes, but what if it is necessary, how many people can your reception centers hold...he REFUSED to answer the question. I would hazard a guess here, that in a serious incident at the plant, the surrounding areas do not have adequate space in this temporary holding facilities for the population, which I state to Mr. Sweeney...wherein, he fell back to Sheltering in place.
So, even if it is not the BEST OPTION, there is a chance that we as citizens at risk would be ordered to SHELTER IN PLACE in our homes because there simply was not enough space in the public shelters to handle all of us? I brought these concerns to the attention of Entergy, and the NRC, as well as the Westchester County Board of Health...so far, no one has been willing and/or able to answer these concerns.
On November 22nd, with the blessing of traitorous, financially self serving, former Mayor of New York Rudi Guilliani, Entergy announced its plans to seek a relicensing of fatally flawed Nuclear Plants and their leaking spent fuel rod storage facilities for a period of and additional 20 years. Couple this with Senator First's announcement that YUCCA valley is dead as a long term storage facility, and it becomes even more imperative that questions like mine be answered with honestly and openly.
Obviously, with these concerns about the inadequacies found in my copy of the Emergency Evacuation Plan, I began looking more closely at a few other issues that I would like addressed. In case of an incident, or for that matter, in the case of any MAJOR DISASTER, we are told to visit the FEMA sight for help in recovering from said disaster...well, I went to that sight, found the section titled, " Recovering from Disaster" and the sub-category right below titled, "Specific Disaster Recovery Information" to get and idea of the steps I would need to take in recovering from a NUCLEAR INCEDENT/ACCIDENT at the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. What I found was/is very disturbing...floods, dam failure, landslides and a host of other disasters are listed, each with a list of steps one can take to recover, but there is NO LISTING, NO STEPS GIVEN TO RECOVER FROM A NUCLEAR INCIDENT.
Surely Indian Point with all of it's plume tracking maps, and FEMA could come up with a list of steps we citizens should take to recover from a Nuclear Incident? Surely it would be possible with some simplistic modeling based on those PLUME MAPS to provide some basic cost analysis of the clean up costs after such and incident? After all, when we look at A) the fact that Indian Point is held by a LLC, B) Price Waterhouse limits their liability, and C) insurances companies have been allowed to put and exclusion in our home owners policies indemnifying them from any costs related to a Nuclear Incident and it is us the citizens who will be left holding the bag...are we not entitled to know what those potential clean up costs would be? Should that not be a factor in deciding for or against any relicensing being sought by Entergy? If there is an incident, and we are SHELTERED IN PLACE, don't we need to know the steps to be taken after the incident to recover from said incident?
One last comment on concerns...today, Indian Point conducted a test of their Emergency Sirens...I live ONE BLOCK from one siren, about five blocks from another...I was home for the test, and never heard said alarms.
I would like answers to these questions, and have been told by Indian Point that it is you who makes the final decision on these matters, so I am turning to you to seek answers to these questions. Though you have no problems with invading my privacy with your ROBO CALLER for unimportant issues, you and your office have been negligent in responding to the citizens of Westchester County on important issues surrounding Indian Point. Because of this, and to hopefully push you into being forth coming in providing an HONEST AND OPEN ANSWER to my concerns, I am taking the liberty of posting this open letter to you on two open source blogs, the links to them provided below. I look forward to your swift response to my concerns, look forward to real dialogue and honest answers, rather than your usual ducking with the by now famous..."I'll get back to you on this" with the getting back NEVER OCCURING.
Respectfully, Concerned Citizen