N.Y. Gov. Cuomo reacts to Indian Point 3 fire

On May 10, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo received a briefing on the status of Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant in Westchester. Following that briefing, the Governor delivered remarks to media on site.

“Anything that happens at this plant obviously raises concerns. A transformer fire in and of itself was not dangerous, but the fear is always that one situation is going to trigger another, and again there has been a repetition in the number of transformer fires that have happened. The fire was started, they believed the fire had been put out; the heat from the transformer actually reignited, so the transformer went on fire a second time, and it had to be put out a second time.

“This plant is the nuclear plant that is closest to the most densely populated area on the globe. If something goes wrong here, it can go very wrong for a lot of people. So it’s always been a priority for us. I was the Attorney General before I was Governor and at that time I was very concerned about the plant. I had serious misgivings, and I made it clear at that time. So now, from an emergency management point of view, if there is any issue we want to make sure we know exactly what it was, what it is, were all the protocols followed, etc.

“So you have that issue of safety and security. And then you have a secondary issue, which is the impact on the environment. The transformer is filled with oil. And in the process of putting out the fire, the transformer basically ruptured, discharging oil onto the ground. The oil then goes into a holding tank. In this case it appears that the volume of oil and water exceeded the capacity of the holding tank, and then spilled out onto the ground. The ground empties into the drain system, the drain system goes right into the Hudson River. So you then have a secondary set of concerns about environmental damage from the fire itself.

“There is no doubt but that oil did escape from the transformer, there is no doubt that oil did go into the holding tank and exceeded the capacity of the holding tank, and there is no doubt that oil was discharged into the Hudson River. Exactly how much, we don’t know. That will be part of an ongoing investigation. DEC was on site last night and we want to thank them very much for their expeditious service. We have booms in the water now around the discharged pipe to collect any oil that may be in the river. DEC is on site and DEC is also on the river, monitoring this situation.

“With that, let me turn it over to DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens.”