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Indian Point Unit 3 Shut Down for Transformer Fix

BUCHANAN, N.Y. – Indian Point Unit 3 was scheduled go offline Tuesday night as operators reconnected the nuclear reactor to an auxiliary transformer that was repaired over the past month.

The transformer was removed from service Feb. 29 after Indian Point officials said they discovered a buildup of combustible gas during routine maintenance.

Unit 3 will be offline only briefly, plant officials said in a statement. Workers repaired a tap changer, a part of the transformer that regulates its voltage output, the statement said.

The auxiliary transformer routes electricity from the plant’s main electrical generator and reduces its voltage to power plant equipment. Unit 3 operated from March 1 to April 10 using a separate source of onsite electrical power while the transformer was being repaired.

The fix comes two weeks after the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation fined the plant for a transformer explosion at Unit 2 in November 2010. A total of 10,000 gallons of transformer oil was dumped into the Hudson River, drawing a $1.2 million fine to Entergy, the plant's owner. The fine is one of the largest ever levied against the plant. Entergy reports its annual revenue as more than $11 billion.

In April 2007, Unit 3 experiences a similar incident, after one of two transformers exploded and triggered an automatic shutdown of the plant, according to published reports .

Neither of the incidents threatened to release any radiation.

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