BUCHANAN, N.Y. – The state fined the owners of Indian Point $1.2 million for spilling 10,000 gallons of oil into the Hudson River in November 2010.
Joe Martens, a Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner, said Entergy, the nuclear plants owner, created conditions that led to a transformer failure and subsequent explosion and fire that led to the oil spill when petroleum used to cool the transformers was released in containment moats and seeped into the Hudson River.
"Long-standing problems cannot be left unaddressed at nuclear facilities and Clean Water Act standards must be complied with to protect public health and our state's natural resources," Martens said in a press release Monday.
The $1.2 million is nearly double the most recent -- and one of the largest -- fines levied by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission against Energy. In 2007 and 2008 the commission levied fines of $130,000 and $650,000, respectively, “representing one of the largest penalties assessed by the agency,” said a commission press release from March 2009.
According to press releases issued by Entergy, annual revenues for the company, the second largest nuclear operator in the United States, are about $11 billion. Using that figure, the $1.2 million fine represents approximately .01 percent of annual revenue.
The company also will have to set up a $600,000 fund to be used to aid other environmental projects. Entergy also must pay $62,000 to reimburse the state for natural resources damages to the Hudson River and $5,000 for assessment and restoration oversight costs. An additional $225,000 penalty was suspended contingent upon Entergy complying with the terms of the order.
The state said an investigation revealed long-standing structural conditions prevented the containment moat from retaining the petroleum as designed. More than 10,000 gallons of oil were recovered from the transformer, the containment moat and areas outside the containment moat including the discharge canal, the Hudson River shoreline and the Hudson River. The state also said the investigation revealed violations of chemical bulk storage regulations at the facility.
“Entergy has fully cooperated with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation,” said Entergy officials in a release. It continued that Entergy, “has taken actions to ensure compliance with the provisions in the consent order. We also are working with the DEC to identify appropriate projects or programs for the $600,000 we agreed would be set aside for environmental stewardship.”
Entergy also agreed to inspect and, if necessary, replace any of Indian Point Unit 2's and 3’s storage facilities, inspect and, if necessary, repair the remaining three main transformer containment structures to avoid similar environmental releases and to complete any necessary repair work in 2012.