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FitzPatrick plant spills lube oil into Lake Ontario

Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren Laughlin
U.S. Coast Guard District 9
An estimated 20 to 30 gallons of lubrication oil from the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County spilled out into Lake Ontario due to an equipment failure.

New York state is investigating the unexpected shutdown of the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County on Friday. The state Public Service Department says as a result of the shutdown, a stuck valve released oil into Lake Ontario Sunday. The source of the leak, which was not radioactive,has been stopped. And now, the U.S. Coast Guard says the process of removing the oil from the lake has begun.

A spokesperson for FitzPatrick's owner Entergy said it was an equipment failure at the plant that caused stores of lubrication oil to overfill and spill out into the water. They have hired a contractor to clean up the estimated 20 to 30 gallons of oil.

Coast Guard public affairs officer Katelyn Waddle said the spill is not as bad as it could have been.  

"This oil that was released is not radioactive, it's not hazardous," Waddle said. "Lubrication oil actually dissipates pretty quickly in water, which for the environment is a positive. It's not something that is that kind of crude oil that sticks to everything and takes a long time that we have to manually take out of the water."

The Coast Guard will oversee the cleanup and Entergy will cover the costs. In a statement, the company's spokesperson said the spill is not in accordance with their standards.

But, this incident is just one of many recent issues at the company's New Uork plants. Its Indian Point plant near New York city was been taken offline due to a leaking water pipe, an electrical breaker failure and at one point it was missing bolts.

These breakdowns have fueled more calls for New York officials to force the closure of Indian Point, which they consider dangerous. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has publicly stated several times that he's opposed to the continued operation of that plant, but he is in support of FitzPatrick, which Entergy plans to close the next year because of economic losses.

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.