Blast at NY Mirant Plant Injures One

Mirant Corp. reported last Wednesday that an explosion occurred at its 447 MW Lovett power station in Tompkins Cove, NY. The blast injured one employee and shut down the entire generating facility, according to spokeswoman Jamie Stephenson.

The explosion occurred at around 11:45 a.m. (EST) Wednesday in the facility's coal-fired Unit 5, which is rated at about 190 MW. The facility was not in operation at the time, Stephenson said, who added that the cause of the blast has not been determined. On Friday, the employee was listed in stable condition with "non-life threatening injuries," spokesman Chuck Griffin said.

The two remaining units, 3 and 4, will not be put back into service until the cause of the explosion is known. Stephenson said she did not know when that would be.

At a press conference last Thursday, Mirant said that while it clearly regretted the incident, it said there was no evidence the explosion posed, or was posing, any sort of threat to public health or safety.

Mirant said it was cooperating with local authorities and making every effort to minimize the impact on the local community, including conducting a cleanup operation of the neighboring properties using appropriate redemption methods.

The company said Rockland County Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Joan Fascelle confirmed that test results indicated there was no off-site asbestos contamination as a result of the explosion. "There is no evidence that this incident has created any kind of health hazard for the community," said Dr. Fascelle. "Any precautions we are taking are simply to err on the side of caution."

"Fifty-seven bulk and 27 air samples have been taken outside of the immediate accident area and in the surrounding residential community. All have tested negative for asbestos," said Carl Dornbush, Ssenior environmentalist, Rockland County Department of Health. "Cleaning crews are currently in the process of cleaning the affected neighborhoods and additional crews are scheduled to arrive."

All operations at the facility have been shut down until it is certain that safe operations of other units can begin, Mirant said.

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