Please sign onto this important letter to FEMA and President Obama re: Indian Point evacuation plans

Please sign onto the attached letter to President Obama and FEMA regarding the Indian Point evacuation plans.

In summary, we are asking that FEMA does not certify the annual evacuation plan for Indian Point,
when the local emergency authorities and New York State have not certified the plan, and the Witt Report found the evacuation plans unworkable and unfixable.

We need to get this letter out right away because the process has already started for this year's certification, so please
email back your permission to add your name or organization to the letter.

Thank you.

Susan Shapiro
(845) 596-5403 cell
(845) 371-2100 work






President Barak Obama

1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW

Washington, DC 20500-0004



Director Craig Fugate

Federal Emergency Management Agency

500 C Street

SW Washington, DC 20472




RE:   FEMA certification of annual emergency evacuation plans for Indian Point and Reagan Executive Order #12658



Dear President Obama and Director Fugate:


Consistent with your desire to observe and adhere to regulatory standards and as a matter of national security we the undersigned, residents and organizations in the Hudson Valley and the New York City Metropolitan area of the Tri-State Region, respectively implore you not to permit FEMA and FEMA director Craig Fugate to automatically and arbitrarily certify the annual Indian Point Nuclear Radiological Emergency Evacuation Plan in disregard of the local and state authorities.


The radiological emergency evacuation plans for Indian Point are uniquely inadequate and in violation of the requirements set forth in the Atomic Energy Act for the following reasons:


1) An extensive evaluation commissioned by New York State and conducted by former FEMA Director James Lee Witt determined that the evacuation plans for Indian Point have major and unfixable flaws that render the evacuation plans for this region unworkable.


2) As a result of those findings, the local county and state authorities have not certified that the evacuation plans are workable since 2003 Governor Pataki who commissioned the study, publicly stated his belief that the conclusions were valid.


3) Indian Point is located in the most densely populated area of the country with 21 million people, about 8% of the US population living within 50 miles of Indian Point.  Fifty miles was defined by the CRAC2 Study conducted by Sandia Laboratories for the US House of Representatives as the Peak Injury Zone around the nuclear plant.


4) The population surrounding Indian Point has increased 10 fold since it  received site approval in the 60’s.  In 1979 Robert Ryan, then the Director of the NRC’s Office of State Programs, testified publicly that he thought that having a three unit nuclear plant on the banks of the Hudson, 25 miles north of New York City, was insane from an emergency planning perspective.  Public health and safety cannot be grandfathered in.


5) Numerous institutions and segments of the population, such as early childcare facilities, senior centers and prisons, as well as latchkey kids who would be home without parental supervision,  are not adequately addressed in the evacuation plan.


6) The geographic and geological topography of the region coupled with the limited road and bridge infrastructure make timely evacuation of the area impossible.  Entergy’s own traffic studies estimate that it would take 100% longer to evacuate the area than had been previously estimated.


7) Because of the obvious flaws that would render this plan unworkable the NRC is now recommending that residents shelter in place rather than evacuating the area.  Sheltering in place cannot be considered a reasonable option, as both FEMA and the NRC recognize that sheltering in place is not as effective in reducing the risk to the public as evacuation.  This is clearly stated in the February 21, 2003 report on emergency preparedness, footnoted below.  1


8)  The annual table top drills conducted by the plant operator under the observation of the NRC have been grossly inadequate to evaluate the capabilities of an evacuation plan.  These drills only consider a slow- breaking release, and have never pre-supposed an extensive radiological release, nor have they factored in the likely traffic congestion that would result from spreading awareness of a radiologic release


In fact, in July 2003, on the day that FEMA certified the evacuation plan as providing “reasonable assurance” that it would be effective despite the Witt reports findings and the withholding of State and County certification, a single car accident on the George Washington Bridge created a day long traffic jam on virtually all the roads that are to be used for evacuation in case of emergency.  Since then the traffic congestion has not improved, but has significantly worsened.


            In the post Katrina and 9/11 world FEMA’s automatic and arbitrary certification of the emergency evacuation plans for Indian Point in contradiction to local county and state emergency authorities cannot be justified. 


Therefore we are respectfully requesting that your administration, unlike the previous administration,  respect and honor the knowledge and hard work of local county  and state emergency planning authorities by not allowing FEMA to abdicate its responsibility to protect public health and safety by  signing off on an unworkable and unfixable evacuation plan


Additionally we respectfully request that you direct the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to withhold any acceptance or certification of an evacuation plan that FEMA does not certify.



Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition,

Susan Zimet, Ulster County Legislator,

Connie Coker, Rockland County Legislator,

Westchester Citizens Awareness Network,,

                                                            Michael Mariotte, Executive Director, NIRS

                                                            PHASE (Public Health and Sustainable Energy)                                                                      Council on Intelligent Energy & Conservation

                                                            Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion


Cc:       Senator Charles Schumer

            Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

            Senator Harry Reid

Congressman John Hall

Congresswoman Nita Lowey

Congressman Eliot Engel

Congressman Maurice Hinchey

Congressman Edward Markey

Governor David Paterson

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo

NYS SEMO Director John R. Gibb

Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano

Rockland County Executive Scott Vanderhoef

Orange County Executive Edward Diana

Putnam County Executive Robert Bondi

1 On page 6 of Attachment B of the report, the report states:  NUREG -0654, Appendix 1 issued in 1983 and enhanced in 1996, in the NRC Supplement 3 to NUREG-0654.FEMA-REP1 "Criteria for Protective Action Recommendations for Severe Accidents. States that “Since the publication of the original guidance extensive studies of severe reactor accidents have been performed.  These studies clearly indicate that for all but a very limited set of conditions, prompt evacuation of the area near the plant is much more effective in reducing the risk of early health effects than sheltering the population in the event of severe accidents.  In addition, studies have shown that except for very limited conditions. Evacuation in a plume is still more effective in reducing health risks that prolonged sheltering near the plant.  The NRC and FEMA recommend that the population near the plant should be evacuated.”  The NEI on the eve of Katrina presented a white paper whereby sheltering in place would replace required evacuation for the 10 miles radius due to the costs to the operators and the inability of adequate evacuation being accomplished.  The NRC has since accepted a 2 mile wedge evacuation as an adequate standard,  and sheltering  in place for the other residents of the emergency evacuation zone.