Kelly presses FEMA on Indian Point evacuation plans

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:58

    WASHINGTON — At a hearing before a House Transportation Subcommittee, U.S. Rep. Sue Kelly pressed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to reassess evacuation plans related to the Indian Point nuclear power plants, in the wake of evacuation problems on the Gulf Coast during Hurricane Katrina. “I’m sorry to say that confidence in the plans is not nearly as strong as it should be, and with good reason,” Kelly told FEMA chief operatin officer Ken Burris. Kelly went on to cite the Witt Report, an independent review commissioned by Gov. George Pataki and released in 2003, that identified serious problems related to emergency preparedness around Indian Point. “Due to the inadequacies exposed by Katrina, can we expect FEMA to conduct another review of the evacuation plan for the area surrounding Indian Point?” Kelly asked Burris. Kelly also questioned why there was a three-week delay last month in notifying local officials and the public about a leak from one of the spent fuel pools at Indian Point 2. After conducting a comprehensive review of Indian Point, officials from the Department of Homeland Security and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) met with county and local officials at Kelly’s request. Burris was unable to answer Kelly’s questions in-depth at the hearing, so FEMA officials said they will follow-up with her to address her concerns. After the hearing, Kelly said, “Our confidence in the evacuation plans for the areas surrounding Indian Point will not improve without a more serious and concerted effort by FEMA. We need FEMA to address the concerns raised in the Witt Report. We need to know for certain that FEMA is fully prepared to handle any possible emergency at Indian Point and help every person in our area who would be affected.”