Monday, Sept. 17, 2018|3:25 p.m.
LACEY TOWN, N.J.– A nuclear reactor long considered to be the oldest in America shut down Monday, the victim of its age and inability to take on newer, more affordable gas-fired power plants.
The Oyster Creek Nuclear Getting Station in New Jersey went offline at noon Monday, powering down without occurrence for the last time after almost a half-century of operation.
The aging plant was viewed as a victim of its age and the changing economics of power generation, where today it is less expensive in many locations to produce power by burning inexpensive natural gas instead of running nuclear power.
Oyster Creek and the Nine Mile Point Nuclear Generating Station near Oswego, New york city both entered into operation in December 1969. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission had actually long noted both centers as going on the internet Dec. 1, 1969– a date the agency acknowledged on Monday is inaccurate.
9 Mile Point says it entered into commercial operation on Dec. 14, 1969; Oyster Creek says it did so on Dec. 23, 1969. But Oyster Creek’s license was granted on April 10, 1969, the business said, about four months prior to one was offered to Nine Mile Point, according to a 1970 file from the United States Atomic Energy Commission, a precursor firm to the NRC.
Both plants, which are now owned by Exelon, say they have for decades considered Oyster Creek to be the older of the 2, an assessment extensively shared in the nuclear market.
“It’s a somber day,” stated Tim Moore, the plant’s vice president. “We viewed mentally as our reactor closed down for the very last time.”
There are now 98 staying nuclear power plants in the United States, stated NRC spokesperson Neil Sheehan.
The plant in Lacey Town near the Jersey coast has handled corrosion and leaks during its time in service, but its owner, Chicago-based Exelon Corp., states the plant has actually always been safe.
In 2010, Exelon reached a contract with the administration of previous New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, under which the plant would close down within 10 years in return for not being needed to construct costly cooling towers to satisfy upgraded ecological requirements.
New Jersey authorities are currently planning on changing a few of the lost generating capacity from Oyster Creek with offshore wind energy jobs. The state Board of Public Utilities agreed Monday to look for applications from companies interested in building such projects off the New Jersey coast.
The preliminary round of tasks would amount to 1,100 megawatts, almost twice the quantity created by Oyster Creek, which powered about 600,000 houses. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy wants to have at least 3,500 megawatts of wind energy off the state’s coast by 2030.
In spite of the reality that nuclear power produces essentially no planet-warming greenhouse gases, many environmentalists had long looked for the shutdown of Oyster Creek for many years, mentioning deterioration that alarmingly thinned its reactor vessel, and the leak of radioactive tritium into groundwater on the plant website.
Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, called Oyster Creek “a catastrophe waiting to take place. By closing early, it will help protect both the environment and public security. We’ve been combating this plant for more than 15 years and this closure is long past due.”
But the plant also has actually been the mainstay of the regional economy in Lacey Municipality, a small town in the Pinelands near Barnegat Bay where fishing and entertainment draw homeowners. The power plant is by far the town’s biggest company and source of real estate tax; the area’s coat of arms has a nuclear isotope in it.
Nick Juliano, the town’s Republican mayor, is worried about the effect of the plant’s shutdown on the local economy and real estate tax base. But he is heartened that 300 of the 400 workers currently utilized at the plant will stay there as fuel rods are gotten rid of and put into secure storage.
“We’re going to miss out on that plant,” he stated. “I wish they ‘d stay. The influence on the homes, the realty, there’s a lot of things we’re handling.”
Jupiter, Florida-based Holtec International plans to buy Oyster Creek next year and accelerate the decommissioning of the plant if needed approvals are granted.