Desastres Naturales

Cuomo: Oil spill in Hudson River after nuclear plant fire

New York, May 10 (EFE).- A fire in a transformer on the weekend forced the shutdown part of the Indian Point nuclear plant located less than 40 km (25 mi.) from New York and resulted in an oil spill into the Hudson River, but the incident posed no risk to the public, facility authorities said.

The fire broke out about 6 p.m. on Saturday and was extinguished by automatic fire control systems and by plant employees.

The firm that manages the plant said in a communique that no radioactivity was released and there was no risk to the safety of plant workers or the public.

Nevertheless, the environmentalist group Riverkeeper reported finding a large oil sheen on the Hudson River Sunday morning near the site of the power plant.

And New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told the media on Sunday that "There is no doubt but that oil did escape from the transformer, there is no doubt that oil did go into the holding tank and exceeded the capacity of the holding tank, and there is no doubt that oil was discharged into the Hudson River. Exactly how much, we don't know."

The portion of the plant affected by the fire was shut down automatically, while the rest of the facility continued operating normally.

Plant authorities said Sunday that the installation remains partially shut down, but stable, after the problem, which did not affect its nuclear area.

Cuomo visited the plant on Saturday night and called the incident "not a major situation," but said that he takes nothing lightly when it comes to the Indian Point plant since it is located so close to New York, with its high population density.

He added that the transformer that caught fire was seriously damaged.

Cuomo, as reported by local media, also expressed his concern over the environmental effects of the incident, not due to radioactivity but rather to the chemicals used to put out the blaze.

According to the governor, the remains of the foam used to quell this kind of fire can pass through the sewer system and into the nearby Hudson River, which runs through New York City.

He assured the public that environmental protection authorities are working to avoid possible negative consequences of those chemicals.