Nuclear Plant Owners To Clean Up Hudson River Oil Spill

The owners of Indian Point Energy Center, the nuclear plant in Buchanan, New York, that suffered a transformer explosion on Saturday (as previously reported by the Inquisitr) are preparing to clean up several thousand gallons of oil that leaked into the Hudson River as a consequence of the nuclear plant explosion, as per USA Today.

Neil Sheehan, a spokesperson for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, explained that the fire began at 5:50 p.m., filling the air with smoke and causing oil to pour forth, overwhelming the plant’s moat.

“The plant’s fire suppression system automatically sprayed water on the transformer fire. Oil made its way into the drains and into the water. Several thousand gallons may have overflowed the transformer moat.”

According to a statement from Entergy Corp, the nuclear plant’s owners, no radiation leaked and the explosion and subsequent fire pose no danger to workers or the public. The transformer that exploded is one of many used to change the voltage of power produced by the nuclear plant before delivering it to the grid.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo held a news conference at the plant Sunday, according to the Examiner, where he announced the spill and indicated that emergency crews were at work on the clean-up. “There is no doubt that oil was discharged into the Hudson River,” Cuomo said. “Exactly how much, we don’t know. That will be part of an ongoing investigation.” He felt confident that the cleanup would take only 1-2 days and that there was no threat to the public, but pointed to a history of transformer issues and other emergencies at the Indian Point nuclear plant and promised to “get to the bottom of this.”

“These situations we take very seriously. Luckily this was not a major situation. But the emergency protocols are very important. I take nothing lightly when it comes to this plant specifically.”

Unit 3, the nuclear reactor that suffered the transformer explosion, had already been shut down Thursday morning for an unrelated issue, and the plant does have a history of problems.

Diane Screnci, a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesperson, said that an inspector was on site Sunday and that the agency would be following up on the damage report and that there was no danger to the public, but others are calling for the nuclear plant’s permanent closure, including environmental watchdog group Riverkeeper president Paul Gallay and U.S. Rep. Nita Lowe (D-Westchester.)

“This latest episode proves that Indian Point remains a serious threat to public health and safety. We are extremely fortunate that a catastrophic scenario did not unfold, and I urge officials to conduct a swift and thorough investigation.”

[Photo by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images]