NRC Annual Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station Public Meeting April 10

Mar 28, 2018

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will host its final public meeting to discuss the annual operational assessment of the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station next month at the Holiday Inn in Manahawkin. The public hearing is slated for 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 10. Federal officials will answer questions on plant performance and its role in ensuring safe plant operations.

Just last month, the NRC released its 2017 end-of-cycle assessment for the 48-year-old plant in which it found the nuke maintained public health and safety. To make the determination, the federal agency took into consideration performance indicators, inspector results and enforcement actions. All inspection findings had a very low safety significance and all performance indicators were within the expected range, according to a Feb. 28 letter from the NRC to Exelon Corp., the Illinois-based utility company that owns and operates the plant.

In 2017, the nuke had one white finding, a low-level safety significance, involving one of the plant’s electromatic relief valves to depressurize the reactor during a pipe break. There are five of this type of valve at the plant. The NRC ended its increased oversight at the nuke in the fall. The deficiency was discovered during a 2016 NRC inspection.

The finding, according to the NRC, is of low to moderate safety significance and is considered a white finding. The feds use a color-coded system to categorize inspection findings. Colors range from green, for very low, to white, yellow and red – a substantial safety or security consequence. Any finding higher than green results in an automatic increase in oversight.

“We will hold a separate public meeting once Exelon submits the post-shutdown decommissioning activities report for the plant,” said Neil Sheehan, public information officer for the NRC’s Region 1 office.

In February, the company announced its intention to permanently take Oyster Creek, the oldest operating nuke in the country, out of service 14 months earlier than anticipated. Exelon was originally granted a 20-year license renewal by the NRC, which would allow Oyster Creek to operate as a base-load electricity generator through April 9, 2029. The nuke was later scheduled to come offline Dec. 31, 2019, in an agreement Exelon struck with the state in order to forgo building cooling towers at the site.

Oyster Creek is one of four nuclear power plants licensed to operate in New Jersey. Salem Nuclear Power Plant has two; the fourth unit is at Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Station.

— Gina Scala

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