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“Oil Spill at Indian Point Contaminates Hudson River” by Cliff Weathers

“The mainstream media seems to have missed the environmental tragedy behind the electrical transformer explosion at the Indian Point 2 nuclear reactor on November 7. While The New York Times, Journal News and other media outlets glossed over this story and mentioned the shutdown of the reactor, they didn’t seem compelled to do much digging. If they had, they may have discovered one of the grim consequences of this event was that thousands of gallons of oil were released into the Hudson River. Riverkeeper, however, did the media’s job for them and revealed the spill, and they tell the story in their blog:

Though it was not disclosed to the public, Entergy Corporation, the owner of Indian Point, called in a report several hours after the transformer fire to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) notifying the state that oil from the transformer had been released as a result of the event. By the next day, involved officials had ascertained that the “entire contents” of the 20,000 gallon capacity transformer had “been lost,” with the oil having been released into the site’s storm drain system and discharge canal, and to the Hudson River. According to DEC’s spill reports, oil sheens were repeatedly observed in the Hudson River in the days following the transformer explosion, and the Coast Guard was called in for support. After the incident, private contractors hired by Entergy scrambled to contain and remediate the oil, yet, as of November 21, 2010, less than 10,000 gallons of oil have been recovered, and it is still not clear how much oil has ended up contaminating the river. There are also indications that Entergy made it extremely difficult for DEC spill response personnel to access the site after the accident, in order to assess the magnitude of the spill. Riverkeeper fully expects DEC to take enforcement action against Entergy for this latest environmental fiasco.

Almost as bad as the spill itself is Entergy’s secretive behavior. Suppressing the oil spill from the public eye tells me that it’s not the good corporate citizen that it portrays itself to be. If anything, it makes me even more wary of its capability of managing the power plant safely. We’ve had misstep after misstep, shutdowns, radiation leaks, and transformer explosions. In that time, the operators of Indian Point have not been transparent as to the nature of these problems, which leads me to believe that they’re hiding a lot more.”

This article was originally published at Left Hudson

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