A transformer exploded at the Indian Point nuclear plant, 38 miles (61 km) north of New York, causing visible fire and black smoke. The plant’s operator had to shut down one of the reactors but assured the emergency caused no threat to public safety.
Unit 3 of the nuclear plant, which is located on the east bank of
the Hudson River, was automatically shut down following
Saturday’s accident, the plant’s operator Entergy Corp has said.
Large transformer explosion at Indian Point Nuclear Power
Plant. Several Westchester County units on scene operating
— RocklandFires (@RocklandFires) May
According to the company, the nuclear reactor was not damaged and
there was “no threat to public safety at any time.”
Indian Point safely shut down following transformer failure
outside of nuclear side of plant; No danger to public health
— Indian Point Energy (@Indian_Point) May
Witnesses posted alarming images of smoke billowing from the
plant on social media, saying it followed a large blast and fire.
“It was a huge black ball of smoke and alarms went off
immediately,” tweeted Gustavus Gricius, a witness near the
— Gustavus Gricius (@GustavusHimself)
May 9, 2015
The plant’s Unit 2 reactor has continued operating and the fire
was put out by the automatic sprinkler system and on-site
personnel, Entergy Corp spokesman Jerry Nappi told Reuters. No
people were reported injured.
Nappi confirmed that the transformers are located some 100 meters
from the reactors inside the security zone. Nuclear Safety
Project director Dave Lochbaum also downplayed the potential for
danger caused by the accident, telling NBC New York that
“transformer explosions are not uncommon – they happen
roughly three or four times a year across the industry.”
Indian Point’s 1,031-megawatt Unit 3 had just been brought back
online on Friday, after being shut down for a steam leak repair.
The plant dates back to 1962, although the currently used
reactors were installed later in the 70s.
— All The News (@AllTheNewscom) May
The Indian Point Energy Center produces some 25 percent of New
York City’s and Westchester’s electricity. The combined power
generated by the two units amounts to over 2000 megawatts. The
facility employs some 1,600 people.
The plant has been a subject of controversy due to its proximity
to NYC. Several environmental groups have been calling for Indian
Point’s permanent shutdown for years. It also has a history of
transformer accidents and various leaks, including a 2012
explosion in the main transformer that spilled oil into the river
and caused Entergy to pay a fine of a $1.2 million.