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Investigators probe cause of fire at New York nuclear plant


Nuclear Plant

Nuclear Plant

Engineers were investigating the cause of a fire at a New York state nuclear power plant Sunday after an electrical transformer failed, forcing one of the plant’s units closed, a spokesman said.

A fire broke out in one area of the Indian Point power plant in Buchanan, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of New York city, after the electrical transformer failed Saturday evening, the plant’s spokesman Jerry Nappi said.

There was no damage to the nuclear reactor itself, which automatically shut down after the accident, and the fire did not occur in the part of the plant where the reactor is housed.

“The transformer is an electric piece of equipment, it has not really much to do with the nuclear side of the plant, so it doesn’t affect radiological safety,” Nappi told AFP, adding there were no injuries.

He said electrical engineers were on site Sunday to look into what caused the failure.

“We have electrical engineers and the manufacturer of other transformers who will investigate what occurred, understand why it occurred, and then replace the transformer with a new one,” he said.

“There will be a more formal investigation that will occur,” he added.

That investigation will be led by engineers from Entergy Corporation, which owns the plant.

The fire was extinguished in a matter of minutes by automatic sprinklers and on-site fire personnel, Nappi said.

The accident caused transformer fluid to leak into the river, and clean-up crews were dispatched Saturday, though it is not clear what environmental impact the leak might have.

“It would be unlikely that there would be enough of that fluid to impact the environment in any consequential way, but we have experts on site and expert contract clean-up crews to mitigate that,” he said.

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