Transformer Explosion At The Indian Point Nuclear Facility Near New York Is 'Contained'

Tyler Durden's picture

The words "explosion", "New York", "black smoke", and "nuclear" strike fear into the heart of most people but according to Entergy - who runs Indian Point, "the nuclear facility has been safely shutdown following a transformer failure." Reports of a loud blast at the nuclear facility just 38 miles north of New York, with dense black smoke rising from Unit 3 are no concern and represent "no danger to public health and safety." The plant, which dates back to 1962 (although the currently used reactors were installed later in the 70s) had just been brought back online on Friday, after being shut down for a steam leak repair.



Indian is just 38 miles north of New York City, and as RT reports, 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.

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 scene.

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.

The facility's operator tweeted...

* * *

One wonders what the rate for a good Geiger counter is in NYC these days?

*  *  *

Just coincidence?


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
ironmace's picture

just a matter of time.....

Fish Gone Bad's picture

All the nuclear plants in the US are ALLOWED to leak a great deal of tritium, every day, all the time.  I love nuclear plants, just not around me or anything I might eat.

Fukushima Sam's picture

I'm sure everything is just fine over at Indian Point.

Save_America1st's picture

What's the problem here?  Obviously nuclear radiation is totally overrated and has no effect on anything at all.  The old protocols of dangerous radiation levels have completely been obliterated by Fukushima proving that all plant and animal/human life on the planet can withstand and survive massive radiation contamination of the air, land, sea, and food, year after year with no problems what-so-ever.

Haven't you been paying attention for the last 4 years?  It's now obvious that there's no such thing as nuclear radiation.  Aren't you all still alive and reading this right now?  You're not don't have cancer.  So then obviously radiation isn't harmful in any way shape or form.  That was just old time junk science and fear that we no longer have to worry about these days because we have all been told now that radiation isn't harmful in any way.

Quit listening to the conspiracy theorists and the doom and gloomers who lie to you about radiation.  Obviously we are all still alive so radiation either doesn't exist or we're all now perfectly evolved to withstand any kind of "harmful" radiation...whatever that is. 

And even if some people, plants, or animals might accidentally get sick and/or die eventually from so-called radiation, isn't that just survival of the fittest?  Don't we all survive better from others dying because they were all too weak to live with a little radiation???  geez....


firewolfsblog's picture

said the man with 2 heads, and 3 eyes

espirit's picture

I sure miss my canned tuna, and wished I'd bought more when NuKuFuKu went critical.

Oh well, I won't miss NY.

Gold Eyed Cat's picture


Ortiz Bonito Del Norte - White Tuna in Olive Oil 


The Italian brand Flott is nice too.  And always get the olive oil.  Crazy long shelf life and I swear it even tastes better with a few years on it.  I have no idea why.

old naughty's picture

In case plant shutdown, you can burn your canned tunnel like a candle:


you can still eat your tuna after, but please Geiger sweep it first.

Gold Eyed Cat's picture

Well, that's something I would have NEVER come up with on my own!

HowdyDoody's picture

I am fully reassured now that Cuomo has personally assessed the situation.

yellowsub's picture

It must be safe is Cuomo is there.

presidentsarkozy's picture


Condition 1SQ's picture

I used to work as a power engineer.  A transformer fire has nothing to do with the nuclear reactions per se.  When a transformer catches on fire, relays detect a fault (either overcurrent, differential, sudden pressure, overtemperature, etc), and circuit breakers isolate the transformer from the system.  I don't know this particular plant's design, but generally there are multiple transformers running in parallel and the loss of a transformer wouldn't necessarily require any nuclear unit to shut down.  However, if a unit depended on that transformer to output power, then the turbine and nuclear unit must be shut down immediately.  This is a fairly routine operation.  The reason the unit must be shut down really has more to do with the turbine.  Turbines are rated for a particular frequency and if you have a tremendous amount of mechanical energy being dumped into the turbine but no electrical loading since the transformer is toast, you will in a very short period of time experience a turbine frequency excursion which can rip it apart.  The quickest way to reject mechanical input power is to dump steam from the nuclear unit to the atmosphere.  It is not, I repeat, not, radioactive.  The radioactive heat transfer fluid (steam, liquid sodium, whatever) is always isolated from the turbine steam via heat exchangers.  It sounds like a bomb going off, but it's simply extremely high pressure steam being vented to atmosphere.

Paraquat's picture

Thank you Condition 1SQ for the explanation. It's always good to hear from someone who has actual experience in the field being discussed. So many commenters just blast off remarks without having a clue what they're talking about.

Now that I've had a chance to read the Wikipedia page that I linked to, I also have a good idea what that black smoke was in the photo. Large transformers are filled with oil, for cooling. I assume that the black smoke is burning oil. There may also be a little bit of burning plastic in there (due to its use as a wire insulator). It is most definitely not burning uranium or plutonium, as transformers don't contain any of that.

General Decline's picture

@1SQ => This is a great fear porn story.  please don't rain on the parade with logic and common sense.

ParkAveFlasher's picture

RT got the wrong number on how much energy Indian Point provides on a % basis.  The real number is not 25%, it is 15%.  My neighbor is a second-generation Con Ed manager and I quiz him on stuff like this periodically.

Karaio's picture

The oil used to cool transformers is called Ascarel.

It is carcinogenic.

In Brazil companies that make maintenance of these transformers are monitored by environmental agencies.


Condition 1SQ's picture

It's spelled "Askarel", and it serves two purposes.  It cools the transformer and (more importantly) serves as a dielectric insulator which makes internal transformer faults much less catastrophic.

Askarel has PCBs, which is why it is considered carcinogenic.  When I was younger, I used to work on a crew that disposed of PCB transformers.  It's a very, very nasty oil.  Sickening smell and it stains the skin for weeks.

Askarel hasn't been used in new transformers in probably 20 or 30 years.  Sure, there are some old PCB transformers out there, but it's quite rare to run across them now.  I doubt there was any PCB oil in that transformer.  Nuke plants are crazy stringent about following regs.  Now they use a special mineral oil which isn't as effective but has been blessed by the EPA.

There is still much controversy over whether Askarel should have been banned by the EPA.

junction's picture

"It is not, I repeat, not, radioactive."  If you don't know what caused that plume of smoke and you are depending on the government, you are in the same position as the sailors on the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan exposed to blast radiation from the Fukushima reactors.  Happy talk does not cut it, facts are what count.  


US sailors prepare for fresh legal challenge over Fukushima radiation

$1bn lawsuit accuses Tepco of failing to avoid the accident and of lying about radiation levels that have caused health problems to themselves and their families stationed in Japan

Condition 1SQ's picture

You're comparing apples and oranges here - you're talking about a nuclear reactor that suffered a tsunami and earthquake.  There's no way to guarantee anything under those conditions.  There is a very, very slim probability that the turbine steam at this particular plant is radioactive, as it is monitored for radioactivity in real time.

Not Too Important's picture

From Enenews:

"radcon 5 alert popped up in NETC Albany NY from 11 am to 8pm yesterday

Those Brooklyn hipsters enamored with Chernobyl might be getting their own chance sooner than they think."

Indian Point NPP's operating license was not renewed in 2013:

'Indian Point To Become First Nuclear Plant To Operate With Expired License'

I can't find where the Indian Point NPP license was ever renewed, but Cuomo wants it shut down:

'NRC: Indian Point On Track For License Renewal

Gov. Cuomo Among Those Who Want Nuclear Plant Closed'

And what the press thinks:

"The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's estimate of the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at Indian Point was Reactor 2: 1 in 30,303; Reactor 3: 1 in 10,000, according to an NRC study published in August 2010. reported based on the NRC data that "Indian Point nuclear reactor No. 3 has the highest risk of earthquake damage in the country, according to new NRC risk estimates provided to" According to the report, the reason is that plants in known earthquake zones like California were designed to be more quake-resistant than those in less affected areas like New York.[37][38]"

And now the fracking earthquakes are lighting up the NE earthquake maps, and getting stronger.

No problem, mon.

crazytechnician's picture

Condition ISQ - "relays detect a fault" , actually transducers are used for fault detection. Relay switches forward some of the logical signals that some transducers produce , however most of these signals are analog which first require amplification and then conversion over to digital prior to being forwarded to monitoring and alarm systems. The rest of what you said is pretty much spot on.

Condition 1SQ's picture

There might be a bit of terminology confusion here ..

"Relays" in this context mean "protective relays".  They are essentially hardened computers which already have current and potential transformers built into them (they are rarely referred to as "transducers" in this context).  For instance, this is the GE T60 - which very likely could have been one of the relays protecting the transformer:

The "relays" you're thinking of are more like these ice cube relays: , which are also used in the utility industry - but act on behalf of a "protective relay" when a fault has occurred.

The only time I've heard people in the utility industry refer to a "transducer" is when they're talking about converting an analog quantity into a small 4-20mA, 0-10mA, etc signal.  Temperature and pressure signals are typically sent this way.

crazytechnician's picture

Perhaps more like this:

All signal data fed into these monitoring systems starts out from a transducer (usually CT's) as an analog signal , it is first amplified then converted over to digital before being forwarded to these monitoring systems.

Somewhat unrelated I have supplied equipment for FFT examinations of suitability of earthing at sites of transformers and Generator Circuit Breakers (GCB's) for the National Grid (UK).

Most modern GCB's are along these lines:


Condition 1SQ's picture

It works like this .. PTs or CCTVs (sometimes installed in the transformer) deliver secondary voltage signals to the protective relay (generally 120V - 67V).  Transformer bushing CTs step the current down to 1A or 5A secondary, which also runs into the relay.  No conversion to digital is done outside the relay, it's all done internally.  Generally, the relay has another set of CTs and PTs to further drop the signal levels down to board-level quantities.  From here, the relay does its software magic.

I've never heard of ERL.  Generally US utilities stick to either GE, SEL, Beckwith or Basler for their protective relays.  On a critical transformer like this, they might even have primary and backup relaying (by different manufacturers).

crazytechnician's picture

Maybe we misunderstand each other but , CT's and PT's are analog transducers. Generator transformers are protected by GCB's on the primary side of the transformer, NOT protection relays which are used for the protection of sub-station transformers , they are susceptible to a different category of faults mainly caused by lightning , DC currents and harmonics due to long transmission lines.

winchester's picture
winchester (not verified) Save_America1st May 10, 2015 4:32 AM

Obviously nuclear radiation is totally overrated and has no effect on anything at all


you just fucking morron. nothing to add to this fact as true as the infinity of the universe, you are, a morron.

crazytechnician's picture

You are a moron if you didn't realise that was /sarcasm.

Reptil's picture

bullshit. it's a longer process. just because in your short term narrow perception of reality (which is the way we're all are supposed to think now), it doesn't render visible results (also because you're not really looking into it, but just regurgitating industry propaganda lines), you think it doesn't exist.
it's because of that attitude, our species will be in serious trouble, in the next 50 years.
seventy years of a giant, worldwide experiment, and it's a big success, right?

German study that proves childhood leukemia doubles near nuclear fission plants:
German study childhood leukemia cluster near Geesthacht (Hamburg)
French study that proves childhood leukemia doubles near nuclear fission plants

Study that proves low dose gamma radiation exposure is damaging to tissue:
This completely discredits an MIT study that was riddled with (intentional) mistakes:

Meta-Analasys of Chernobyl disaster caused genomic damage in children:

Industry hides peaks in tritium releases:

Anusocracy's picture

Another poorly located nuke plant. Should have been built next to the Eccles Building.

Fukushima Fricassee's picture
Fukushima Fricassee (not verified) Fukushima Sam May 9, 2015 11:10 PM

Tosser sam

ReasonForLife's picture

There are over 100 nuclear powerplants in the US,  most of them are on the East Coast and are over 40 years old.  The equipment is aged, the level of negligence, errors and plain old "I don't care" attitude amongst US workers is on the rise.  I've heard more incidents involving the PA Nuclear powerplant in recent years, as well as the California San Onofre one, where contaminated water leaked into the environment.  I highly recommend looking into this radiation water filter for your safety, I've been using it for years and swear by it:

Dickweed Wang's picture

just a matter of time.....

Yeah buddy . . . what's not being reported or talked about (much) is the Boone dam down in Tennessee that has a huge sinkhole below it that is jeopardizing the integrity of the dam structure.  It just so happens that dam holds back a lake that is above SEVEN (7) nuclear power plants downstream . . . yikes!

Cynicles's picture

Leave me alone, I am watching a nifty sit-com on DistrationTV

ceilidh_trail's picture

The river below it flows through a wide valley and quite large flood plain. There are several very large impoundments that are larger and could also buffer between it and the power plants.

Not Too Important's picture

It's already been determined that if the dam goes, all the NPP's downstream will be wrecked. That's why the hurry to fix the problem, which essentially has no fix for the foreseeable future.

Yes, it is a big problem.

sam i am's picture

Do they have any Ukrainians working there?

junction's picture

If the cause of the fire was "Jewish lightning," there would be mass evacuations from Westchester County to escape the plumes of radioactive debris.

Cynicles's picture

just a matter of time.....

mmm, before FUKUshima kills all? 

A Lunatic's picture

Something insignificant happened, no one was injured, no property damaged, all is well. Where's the story.......?

Fish Gone Bad's picture

Didn't they say that when Three Mile Island went critical?  Inspires confidence, just like, "Brownie did a heck of a job!"

Dazman's picture

Well, to me it's news that there is a nuclear plant that close to NYC. Imagine something did hit that building (like a plane or two, or a few bombs) and the water became radioactive because of leakabge. All the water is rushing around Manhattan... pretty incredibly catastrophic.

I wonder if a terrorist will read this and get the idea. Is it sad that I kind of hope they do?

Not Too Important's picture
  • In 1973, five months after Indian Point 2 opened, the plant was shut down when engineers discovered buckling in the steel liner of the concrete dome in which the nuclear reactor is housed.[16]
  • On October 17, 1980,[17] 100,000 gallons of Hudson River water leaked into the Indian Point 2 containment building from the fan cooling unit, undetected by a safety device designed to detect hot water. The flooding, covering the first 9 feet of the reactor vessel, was discovered when technicians entered the building. Two pumps which should have removed the water were found to be inoperative. NRC proposed a $2,100,000 fine for the incident.[18]
  • In February 2000, Unit 2 experienced a Steam Generator Tube Rupture (SGTR), which allowed a small amount of primary water to leak into the secondary system through one of the steam generators.[19] All four steam generators were subsequently replaced.
  • In 2005, Entergy workers while digging discovered a small leak in a spent fuel pool. Water containing tritium and strontium-90 was leaking through a crack in the pool building and then finding its way into the nearby Hudson River. Workers were able to keep the spent fuel rods safely covered despite the leak.[20] On March 22, 2006 The New York Times also reported finding radioactive nickel-63 and strontium in groundwater on site.[21]
  • In 2007, a transformer at Unit 3 caught fire, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission raised its level of inspections, because the plant had experienced many unplanned shutdowns. According to The New York Times, Indian Point "has a history of transformer problems".[5]

  • On April 23, 2007, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission fined the owner of the Indian Point nuclear plant $130,000 for failing to meet a deadline for a new emergency siren plan. The 150 sirens at the plant are meant to alert residents within 10 miles to a plant emergency. Since 2008, a Rockland County based private company has taken over responsibility for the infrastructure used to trigger and maintain the ATI siren system. The sirens, once plagued with failures, have functioned nearly flawlessly ever since.[22]
  • On January 7, 2010, NRC inspectors reported that an estimated 600,000 gallons of mildly radioactive steam was intentionally vented to the atmosphere after an automatic shutdown of Unit 2. After the vent, one of the vent valves unintentionally remained slightly open for two days. The levels of tritium in the steam were within the allowable safety limits defined in NRC standards.[23]
  • On November 7, 2010, an explosion occurred in the main transformer for Indian Point 2, spilling oil into the Hudson River.[24] Entergy later agreed to pay a $1.2 million penalty for the transformer explosion.[5]
  • On May 9, 2015, a transformer failed at Indian Point 3, causing the automated shutdown of reactor 3. The fire was quickly extinguished, and the reactor was found to be "safe and stable." [25]

AIIB's picture
AIIB (not verified) May 9, 2015 9:17 PM

If any jews suffer from this, we'll be sure to hear about it... (Well, WAIT, only the part where the jew owners of the place weren't complicit in the mismanagement of the malfunction)...


If you hear nothing further about this, rest assured that Toucan Sam beak, "BABY" will get the last dance at Kellermans this fall...

Creepy A. Cracker's picture

Transformers explode.  Sometimes the oil in them burns. Done.

Quit running in circles screaming...

Stormtrooper's picture

And this particular transformer blew some PCBs a couple thousand feet into the air.  No problem though, it'll disperse over a few hundred miles.

hibou-Owl's picture

transformers explode if they are left to run to failure.

I would like to know if any Dissolved Gas analysis was done on the transformer oil, and if Partial Discharge testing was done.

We had over 110 transformers under an asset management strategy with no failures in 15 years. We had some close calls before weeding out the defects. Even did an oil transfusion on the run.

You need to take oil sample yearly, conduct PD survey, and a winding test.

Note: The article states a history of transformer failures