BREAKING NEWS: Ash cloud released at IR power plant

Around 8:15 on Tuesday morning, July 28, while employees at the Indian River Indian River Generating Station near Millsboro were performing routine maintenance on an ash silo, an inspection port on the silo failed, causing ash to land on the concrete floor, NRG officials said Tuesday. Some ash, which they said is a nonhazardous byproduct of coal-powered generation, created a cloud for a time.

Lori Neuman, director of communications for NRG Energy Inc., which owns the plant, said employees immediately took measures to clean up the ash, including wetting down the ash pile to prevent any further dusting. Neuman said the ash is contained to one location on the site, with some more ash left in the silo, but that it is no longer emptying.
“Our first priority is ensuring the safety of the workers at our facility and of the environment,” said Neuman. “To be conservative, we immediately notified the local authorities – including DNREC, the Coast Guard and the Dagsboro fire department. The Millsboro and Sussex County emergency response personnel were very helpful in working with us.”
One employee who breathed in the dust was taken to the hospital for evaluation, Neuman noted.

Two units of the four-unit plant were taken offline in an orderly manner, Neuman said, to protect the plant and the grid. She said NRG might need to take down one or both of the other two units at the facility in order to repair the silo, but that they were trying to wait until nightfall to do so, to minimize impact to the electric power grid.

She said NRG anticipated that repairs could take a matter of days.

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