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November 21, 2014

New Nuclear Plants Siren System to be tested soon

Fulton-Sirens in a new public warning system being installed by Exelon Generation and Entergy Nuclear will be ready for testing soon, and residents may hear individual soundings of sirens in the coming weeks.

Full testing of the new sirens will be announced by Exelon Generation when a schedule is established, officials reported. Before that schedule begins, as installation of each siren is completed, the individual sirens will be tested audibly to ensure functionality.

"Residents of the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone may hear sirens sounding as part of the installation testing anytime during the next few weeks," Dale A. Currier, Director of the Oswego County Emergency Management Office, said. "This is a normal part of the installation process."

The project is a joint effort by Exelon Generation, which operates Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station, and Entergy Nuclear, which owns and operates the James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant, to upgrade the public warning system. It includes replacing 37 existing sirens and installation of two new sirens, as well as battery backup-power in the 10-mile radius around the nuclear power plants.

The system is operated by Exelon Generation and serves both of OswegoCounty's nuclear facilities; however, it can also be called upon by county emergency management authorities to provide notification in any type of emergency.

The warning sirens are one of several methods used by county emergency management authorities to provide notification of emergencies. In an emergency, the sirens would be sounded prior to an Emergency Alert System message on broadcast stations participating in the Oswego County Emergency Alert System, which would tell people why the sirens sounded and what they should do.

"The sirens are not a signal to evacuate," Currier stressed. "People should always consult an EAS station to hear instructions by OswegoCounty officials on what they should do."

The new sirens will sound at a volume similar to the old ones. There will be a change to the frequency of testing and details will be shared on these changes. Until the new system is fully tested and approved by federal officials, the existing system will remain in place.

"We appreciate Exelon Generation's and Entergy Nuclear's commitment to public health and safety and the investment they've made in the new system," Currier said. "The new sirens will enhance our ability to warn people of an emergency."

Residents who have questions about the siren activations should call the Oswego County Emergency Management Office at 591-9150.

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