Entergy continues to investigate the cause of the failed transformer and subsequent spill of the transformer’s dielectric fluid following the event which occurred on May 9. The failed transformer is located outdoors in the transformer yard and external to any buildings that contain radioactive materials.
Preliminary assessments of the moat system designed to catch the transformer’s dielectric fluid following a transformer failure, along with drains and other areas around the transformer, indicate as of today approximately 8,300 gallons of dielectric fluid have been recovered or were combusted during the fire. Entergy will vigorously investigate and seek to recover as much of the remaining approximately 16,000 gallons as possible. Visual observations in the discharge canal and the Hudson River have not indicated significant quantities of transformer oil, and further investigation and aggressive recovery efforts at the site will continue. These efforts likely are anticipated to take several months, and will be coordinated with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC).
While environmental mitigation crews continue to conduct their investigation to identify potential transformer oil onsite, additional mitigative protective measures have been installed in the plant’s discharge canal to prevent the potential release of transformer oil to the river while the investigation continues.
Dielectric fluid is a clear, light mineral oil that acts as an electrical insulator and coolant inside transformers when they are operational. The oil in the failed transformer contained no PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls).
“Any spill of transformer oil to the environment is not in accordance with our standards, and Entergy will be accountable for any violation of our responsibility,” said Bill Mohl, president of Entergy Wholesale Commodities. “We take this commitment very seriously, which is why we have been working closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and NYSDEC to identify and respond to reports of transformer oil in the river in order to minimize any potential impact. We will continue to be open and transparent throughout the process, provide regular updates to our stakeholders, and continue our commitment to good environmental stewardship,” added Mohl. “We also are committed to learning from and evaluating our emergency preparedness program in response to this event.”
Engineers and transformer experts are working to identify a cause of the transformer failure and Entergy will share that information when it becomes available, which is estimated to be by June 30.
An automatic sprinkler system, along with trained onsite firefighting personnel, extinguished the fire using water and fire retardant foam. In addition, Entergy environmental professionals and contractors swiftly responded following the event and placed protective oil booms in the plant’s discharge canal and river to capture fluid and mitigate potential releases to the river. Teams were also dispatched to begin monitoring for any fluid that may have reached the River.
Unit 3 remains safely shutdown. Unit 2 continues to operate at full power and has been online for 423 continuous days.
Indian Point Energy Center, in Buchanan, N.Y., is home to two operating nuclear power plants, unit 2 and unit 3, which generate approximately 2,000 megawatts of electricity and supply about 25 percent of power used annually in New York City and Westchester County. Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power, making it one of the nation’s leading nuclear generators.