Indian Point plant fire raises environmental concerns

Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a second trip to Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan Sunday as officials work to determine what caused a transformer to fail, sparking a fire and raising concerns regarding its environmental impact.

The fire broke out on the non-nuclear side of the plant, about 200 yards away from the reactor, at around 6 p.m. Saturday. Firefighters put out the flames with a special kind of foam. They say the damaged transformer was leaking oil.

No injuries were reported.

Cuomo was at the facility Saturday talking about the potential risks to the environment due to the foam and oil. He returned Sunday to speak to the press, giving an update on the cleanup effort.

The governor says that the primary concern deals with the oil and foam leaking into the Hudson River, which lies adjacent to the plant. Another issue is the fact that the plant's storm drains empty into the Hudson, which could add to the pollution. Cuomo says commercial crews have been called to clean the foam and oil.

The Environmental Protection Agency is now monitoring the situation, and Cuomo says the Department of Environmental Conservation will also assess the area.

In the meantime, U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey is urging the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to reject the re-licensing of Indian Point reactors.

She recently reintroduced two pieces of legislation that would create an emergency preparedness grant program and strict criteria for re-licensing old plants.

In a statement, Lowey said she is skeptical that Indian Point is in the best interest of families in the area.

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