December 6, 2004

Athos I clean up continues

Two reactors at the Salem, N.J. nuclear power plant have temporarily been shutdown and placed in a safe position, in response to the Athos I spill in the Delaware River.

"We appreciate the support we have been getting from the Coast Guard and incident response team," said Chris Bakken, Nuclear President and CNO of reactor operator PSE&G. "We will continue to work with them to monitor the conditions of the river. We will keep our units offline as long as is necessary, and remain confident we can keep the plants in a safe, cooled condition regardless of any impact from the oil."

In an update issued yesterday, the Coast Guard noted that, ten days since the Athos I spilled an undetermined amount of oil in the Delaware River, the unified command continues to lead the environmental cleanup with over 1,200 federal, state, local officials and contractors.

The Environmental Protection Agency is continuning to sample the water to insure that it is safe for drinking.

"Water quality sampling on the Delaware River is ongoing and continuous with the municipalities conducting their own sampling and analysis, there are no reports of problems with contamination in the water column. If there are any reports of elevated levels, we will be notified immediately," said Mr. Ed Levine, NOAA Scientific Support Coordinator.

Commercial vessels are allowed into the port of Philadelphia, but must undergo a decontamination process prior to leaving the affected area. Five vessels have been decontaminated and released out of the port since yesterday. Inbound ships with a draft greater than 34 feet must transit on the high tide.

The cause of the incident is still under investigation.

    Latest oil spill information:

    10,918 gallons of oil/water mixture has been recovered.

    2.5 million gallons of oil have been transferred from the ATHOS I to an awaiting barge. Transfer operations are expected to be completed early next week.

    6,720 pounds of oily solids (cleanup materials and oil) have been collected. 

    Experts report 98 birds have been captured, 68 have been cleaned and 74 are dead.

    Oil has impacted approximately 81 miles of shoreline.

    More than 105,700 feet of spill-control and absorbent boom is in place.


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