New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said late May 11 that state agencies are keeping a close eye on the Hudson River in the aftermath of a weekend transformer fire at the Indian Point 3 nuclear plant in Westchester County, N.Y.
Indian Point 3 was still offline early May 12 following the transformer fire. Indian Point 2 was unaffected by the accident and remains operating at full power.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) resident inspectors for Indian Point – who work at the plant on a daily basis – are monitoring activities at the site while plant workers are troubleshooting and looking for the cause of the fire on the Unit 3 main transformer, NRC said in a May 12 blog posting.
“Our investigation of this weekend’s incident at Indian Point is ongoing as we continue the containment and clean-up phase,” the governor said in a statement. “The State Department of Environmental Conservation and New York State Police are working closely with the U.S. Coast Guard to monitor the situation and determine the series of events leading up to the transformer fire, as well as the totality of the environmental impact,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo said that Entergy and its contractors, in coordination with government agencies, “continue to clean up the oil spill both on and off site at Indian Point.”
Entergy officials have indicated that any environmental impact from the fire on the non-nuclear side of the nuclear plant on May 9 is minimal. In a May 11 statement, an Entergy spokesman also questioned how much of the substance that leaked into the river might actually be “oil.”
The Cuomo statement said that state environmental officials expect to have an estimate of the amount of oil recovered from the Hudson River by the end of the week. “Some oil burned during the transformer fire or dispersed before containment was in place in the river,” Cuomo said.
“DEC spills responders have observed sheens on both the east and west sides of the Hudson River, no recoverable amounts have been noted at this time,” Cuomo said.
In addition to cooling provided by fans, the main transformer is also cooled by oil flowing through it, NRC said. “On Saturday, oil from the transformer spilled into the plant’s discharge canal. Entergy has been working to determine how much oil was spilled,” NRC said.
“As far as next steps go plant employees will determine what happened and why,” NRC said. “They will repair or replace any equipment that was damaged in the fire. The plant can restart when ready. NRC inspectors will be monitoring Entergy’s actions every step of the way, ensuring workers are taking all appropriate actions,” NRC said.