Indian Point shutdown linked to bird poop

March 6, 2016 | By Garrett Montgomery More

An Indian Point shutdown caused by bird poop is making headlines. In a statement issued by Indian Point, a nuclear reactor in New York, it was revealed that the company was briefly closed in December after an investigation revealed that bird feces had damaged outdoor transmission insulators.

Indian Point shutdown

The cause of another Indian Point shutdown has been revealed, and you will not believe it. Officials at the Indian Point Energy Center, aka IPEC, located in Buchanan, New York said it was closed because of bird poop.

According to a report released by the plant’s operator Entergy Corporation, on December 4, 2015, the three-unit nuclear power plant was shut down for few hours after the discovery of damaged outdoor transmission insulators near the plant’s Unit 3. The damage caused by bird excrement led to “an electrical disturbance that in turn led the circuits to trip at the facility, which located about 40 miles north of midtown Manhattan.” The report stated:

“Damage was caused by a bird streamer. Streamers are long streams of excrement from large birds that are often expelled as a bird takes off from a perch. If a streamer contacts an energized conductor, the electrical current may travel through the streamer back to the bird or pole/transmission tower. The result may be a bird electrocution, power outage, and/or line trip.”

Jerry Nappi, an Entergy spokesman, explained:

“…the December accident was caused by an electrical disturbance on outdoor high voltage transmission lines… the actual cause is still being reviewed by an outside engineering expert. A possible cause is bird streaming which is a common cause for electrical interruptions in high voltage transmission lines throughout the world.”

The December incident was one of 20 significant service interruptions at the plant since 2011 – all due to bird waste. Officials have said enough is enough and have announced that they will install bird guards around the plant. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been working night and day to shut down the nuclear plant permanently because it is located too close to residential homes.

It sits on the east bank of the Hudson River, 25 miles north of New York City. In February, Cuomo was given an extra reason to press on with his mission – results from groundwater testing revealed contamination by radioactive tritium, but officials said there is no danger to the public. Flint, Michigan officials said the same. Cuomo, who demanded new investigations of procedures at the nuclear plant, wrote in a letter:

“This latest failure at Indian Point is unacceptable. This failure continues to demonstrate that Indian Point cannot continue to operate in a manner that is protective of public health and the environment.”

Indian Point provides 39% of the state’s nuclear capacity.


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