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Unexplained Explosion Shakes Nuclear Power Plant North of New York City

Transformer at the Indian Point facility in Westchester County caught on fire Saturday

Smoke seen rising from the Indian Point Energy Center on Saturday. (Photo: Ricky Flores/AP)

Smoke seen rising from the Indian Point Energy Center on Saturday. (Photo: Ricky Flores/AP)

In what witnesses described as a huge explosion, a transformer at the Indian Point nuclear power plant just north of New York City caught on fire Saturday, billowing smoke and prompting the operator to shut down the impacted unit.

Onlookers documented the explosion on Twitter:

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that, in the aftermath of the blaze, firefighters extinguished the flames with a "special kind of foam." The governor voiced concern about the environmental implications of this substance and oil leaks from transformer: "There is a lot of foam and a lot of oil and now we are worried about that leaking in to the Hudson River."

Operator Entergy corporation claimed on Twitter Saturday evening that the facility is "safe, secure, and stable" following the "unusual event" but provided no information about the cause of the explosion.

The incident was the second shutdown in just three days. "Unit 3 had been shut down Thursday morning for an unrelated issue, a water leak on the non-nuclear side of the plant," the Associated Press reports.

The clean water advocacy organization Riverkeeper announced on Twitter that it is investigating the incident:

Located in Westchester County, the facility provides electricity for New York City and surrounding suburbs. Residents have repeatedly raised concerns about the safety of the plant, including the storage of dangerous nuclear waste, and some have called for the facility to be shuttered for good.

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