Nuclear plant fire sends oil into Hudson River
May 10, 2015 6:16 PM EDT
BUCHANAN, N.Y. – Part of a nuclear power plant remained offline Sunday after a transformer fire created another problem: thousands of gallons of oil leaking into the Hudson River.
At an afternoon briefing, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said emergency crews were out on the water near Buchanan trying to contain and clean up the transformer fluid that leaked from Indian Point 3.
“There’s no doubt that oil was discharged into the Hudson River,” Cuomo said. “Exactly how much, we don’t know.”
The transformer at the plant about 30 miles north of midtown Manhattan failed on Saturday evening, causing a fire that forced the automatic shutdown.
Cuomo revealed Sunday that even after the blaze on the non-nuclear side of the plant was quickly doused, the heat reignited the fire, but it was again extinguished.
Oil in the transformer seeped into a holding tank that did not have the capacity to contain all the fluid, which then entered river waters through a discharge drain.
Joseph Martens, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection, said measures were taken to keep the oil from spreading, including setting up booms over an area about 300 feet in diameter in the water.
The cleanup should take a day or two, Cuomo said.
A spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said several thousand gallons of oil may have overflowed the transformer moat.
The reactor itself was deemed safe and stable throughout, said a spokesman for owner Entergy Corp. The plant’s adjacent Unit 2 reactor was not affected and remained in operation.
The Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan supplies electricity for millions of homes, businesses and public facilities in New York City and Westchester County.
CBS New York reports the blaze led to sirens going off at the plant, and a loudspeaker message declaring “This is not a drill.”
“These situations we take very seriously. Luckily this was not a major situation. But the emergency protocols are very important,” Cuomo said Saturday. “I take nothing lightly when it comes to this plant specifically.”
The transformer at Indian Point 3 takes energy created by the plant and changes the voltage for the grid supplying power to the state. The blaze, which sent black smoke billowing into the sky, was extinguished by a sprinkler system and on-site personnel, Entergy spokesman Jerry Nappi said. Westchester County police and fire were on site as a precaution.
It was not immediately clear what caused the failure, or whether the transformer would be repaired or replaced. Nappi said there were no health or safety risks.
Officials did not know how long the 1,000-megawatt reactor would be down. Entergy is investigating the failure.
Cuomo said there had been too many emergencies recently involving Indian Point. Unit 3 was shut down Thursday morning for an unrelated issue – a water leak on the non-nuclear side of the plant. It was repaired and there was no radioactive release, Nappi said.
“We have to get to the bottom of this,” the governor said.
Diane Screnci, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said an agency inspector was at the site Sunday and the agency would follow up as Indian Point assesses the affected equipment.
She said there was no impact on the public, and it was not out of the ordinary for a transformer to have a problem.
The environmental watchdog group Riverkeeper issued a statement Sunday saying the latest Indian Point accident proves that the plant should be closed for good.
Carl Lundgren of the grassroots group Shut Down Indian Point Now told CBS New York that its proximity to people is its biggest problem.
“It wouldn’t even be allowed to be constructed today because of the density of the population up there now,” he said.
© 2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
His Brother The Beast Will Cost Jeb The Election (Rev 13)
Jeb Bush says that he would have authorized the 2003 war in Iraq — just like his brother did.
“I would have, and so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody,” the former Florida governor told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly Saturday after delivering the commencement address at Liberty University in Virginia. “And so would almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got.”
Bush, brother of former President George W. Bush and likely 2016 presidential candidate, said mistakes were made in not securing the country.
“By the way, guess who thinks that those mistakes took place as well? George W. Bush,” Jeb Bush said. “Yes, I mean, so just for the news flash to the world, if they’re trying to find places where there’s big space between me and my brother, this might not be one of those.”
Last month, George W. Bush sharply criticized President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, saying his successor pulled U.S. troops out of Iraq too quickly and mishandled nuclear negotiations with Iran.
“You think the Middle East is chaotic now? Imagine what it looks like for our grandchildren,” the former president was quoted by Bloomberg telling Jewish donors at the closed-door event. “That’s how Americans should view the deal.’”
“That’s why you won’t see me,” he said, according to the New York Times.
In his speech at Liberty University, Jeb Bush took a jab at the Obama administration on religious freedom.
“Federal authorities are demanding obedience, in complete disregard of religious conscience,” he said in his speech. “What should be easy calls in favor of religious freedom have instead become an aggressive stance against it. Somebody here is being small-minded and intolerant, and it sure isn’t the nuns, ministers, and laymen and women who ask only to live and practice their faith.”
The Republican presidential hopeful bestows his wisdom to the graduating class of 2015.
In his interview with Fox News, Bush talked about an issue on which he seems less conservative than some of his GOP peers: immigration.
“I mean, there’s got to be a point where we fix this system so that legal immigration is easier than illegal immigration and show some respect for people,” he said. “[To] a kid that might have been here 10 years, that might be a valedictorian of their high school, to say, ‘No, no, no, you’re not allowed to go to college,’ I just think there’s a point passed which we’re over the line.”
N.J. is not immune to quakes
The keys to all this local rumbling are the Ramapo fault in North Jersey and the so-called 125th Street fault across Manhattan.
To keep track of all the seismic activity, Lamont-Doherty operates three quake-monitoring stations in Ringwood and in Basking Ridge and Green Pond in Morris County. Each station has a seismometer, an instrument that pinpoints a quake by measuring the movement in the earth and combining it with the exact time, which it receives from a satellite.
Israel can help the Saudis offset an Iranian nuclear bomb
Jerusalem could declare it will not let Tehran have a nuclear monopoly (or duopoly with Israel, as Iran’s foreign minister would have it). It could help the Saudis achieve parity.