Public Hearing for Oyster Creek Post-Shutdown Plans Set

Jun 20, 2018

The public will have an opportunity to discuss Exelon Generation’s post-shutdown plans for the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station at a Nuclear Regulatory Commission hearing Tuesday, July 17. Those unable to attend can provide written comments for consideration by Sept. 10.

In May, the company announced its intention to place the Lacey Township-based nuke in safe storage for nearly six decades after it permanently takes the nation’s oldest commercial nuclear power plant offline in October, according to the Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

In safe storage, a facility is left intact or may be partially dismantled, but the fuel is removed from the reactor vessel, radioactive liquids are drained from the systems and components then processed, according to the report. The radioactive decay during safe storage lowers the level of contamination and radioactivity that must be disposed of during decontamination and dismantlement.

In its report, the utility company said the primary objectives for decommissioning the plant are to take it out of service, reduce residual radioactivity to levels permitting unrestricted release, restore the site, perform the work safely, and complete the work in a cost-effective manner.

“The selection of a preferred decommissioning alternative is influenced by a number of factors at the time of plant shutdown,” the report said. “These factors include the cost of each decommissioning alternative, minimization of occupation radiation exposure, availability of high-level waste (spent fuel) repository or a Department of Energy interim storage facility, regulatory requirements and public concerns.”

Oyster Creek produces 636 net megawatts of electricity at full power, enough electricity to supply 600,000 typical homes, the equivalent to all homes in Monmouth and Ocean counties combined. The facility is a single-unit boiling water reactor, located on 800 acres neighboring Oyster Creek. It is one of four nuclear power plants licensed to operate in New Jersey. Salem Nuclear Power Plant has two units; the fourth unit is at Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Station.

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 to forgo building cooling towers at the site. It’s now scheduled for retirement before Oct. 31.

The NRC hearing is slated for 6 to 9 p.m. at Community Hall, 101 N. Main St., Forked River.

— Gina G. Scala

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