Connors Gushes Praise for Kim in 2020 Battleground CD-3

U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-3)

FORKED RIVER – Just about every new member of Congress has an ongoing district issue of some note.

But few things are as challenging as the one Andy Kim is facing in southern New Jersey’s 3rd District.  He has a shut-down nuclear power plant on his hands.

The well-known Oyster Creek plant ceased operations last September. At the time, it was the oldest such facility in the nation. It opened in 1969, the magical year of the moon landing, Woodstock and the Miracle Mets.

Of course, when it comes to a nuclear plant, you don’t just cut the lights, lock the door and drive away.
The plant is to be “de-commissioned,” which sounds like the terminology you use when you want to make something sound overly complex., However, in this case, that’s the down-home truth.

At a town hall meeting Thursday evening at a local middle school, Kim, who was elected last year, said no other issue he encounters is as complex as this one.

Here’s the schedule in simple terms.

With operations ceased. the immediate problem is storing tons of spent nuclear fuel. The plan is to put the fuel in casks to be housed – temporarily – onsite. That project should take until late 2021. Only then, will the plant be demolished, a job that should be done by 2025.

But let’s go back to the fuel.

That has to go someplace.

For years, there was talk of storing spent nuclear fuel from across the country at a place where, logically, few humans reside. That was Yucca Mountain in Nevada. But that may no longer be the case.

Kim talked of a “brutal fight” in Congress over the Yucca Mountain site. A second possible storage site is in New Mexico.

The closing or de-commissioning of the plant is being done by Holtec of Camden. That name may mean something to political junkies. Yes, this is the same company that was highlighted at recent state hearings looking into possible improper EDA tax-incentive grants. No one raised that issue, but some in the audience of about 250 were skeptical about Holtec’s ability to do the job as flawlessly as it says it will.

That’s to be expected.

Still, there is something about a nuclear power plant that seems to bring out the best in people. This truly is an issue that reaches beyond partisan bickering.

Kim chatted amiably with a questioner who sported a “Make America Great Again” cap.

Local state Senator Chris Connors, a Republican, gushed in his praise for Kim, calling the Democrat a great friend.

Throughout the 90-minute or so session, there were no hostile questions for Kim.

Not that everyone was able to grab the floor.

A handful of people attended the meeting with “Medicare for All” signs. These demonstrations, if you will, have been regular occurrences at congressional town halls this August.

But this was not the night for that debate.

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