Public Has More Time to Comment on Oyster Creek Sale and Transfer of $980 Decommissioning Fund to Camden-Based Company

Public Has More Time to Comment on Oyster Creek Sale and Transfer of $980 Decommissioning Fund to Camden-Based Company

LACEY TOWNSHIP – The Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has extended the public comment period of the sale of the Oyster Creek Generating Station from Exelon to Holtec International, a Camden-based company, until January 9.

Clean Water Action had contacted Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) to request an extension for the public to give adequate time and opportunity to draft comments on the Oyster Creek sale that includes establishment of a complex corporate limited liability structure and dry cask storage of over 1.2 million pounds of highly radioactive waste that accumulated during the reactor’s almost 50 years of operation.

“We thank Senator Booker for speaking up for the public,” said Janet Tauro, NJ Clean Water Action Board Chair. “Anyone who has ever participated in an NRC proceeding knows its daunting complexity for the average citizen. The cards are generally stacked pro-industry, and against the public, and Senator Booker went to bat for us and we applaud him.”

Clean Water Action has also requested that the NJ Attorney General review the deal and make comment.

“There are serious issues to explore, not the least of which is who has access to deadly nuclear material. That lifts this from a local to national security issue,” added Tauro.

Oyster Creek, the nation’s oldest commercial reactor, ceased operations on September 17, and shortly after announced the sale to Holtec, which is partnered with a Canadian energy giant reportedly facing corruption charges in that county.

Holtec has proposed a swift eight-year decommissioning that would employ a “proto-prompt“ technology to transfer the highly radioactive spent fuel rods from an overhead cooling pool into on-site dry casks. The casks would then be shipped across the country by road, rail,  or barge through densely populated areas to another Holtec-owned interim storage facility in New Mexico. That storage facility is pending NRC approval.

Highly radioactive spent fuel rods usually have to cool at least 5 years before they are moved. Rods containing high burn up fuel, which is twice as irradiated and more highly radioactive, can take up to 20 years to cool. There are also questions as to whether any of the spent rods in the pool are damaged.

Some of the radiological isotopes and waste generated by Oyster Creek will remain radioactive for tens of thousands of years.

Exelon had stated that a complete decommissioning of the site would cost $1.4 billion, about 40 percent more than is in the trust fund and generated by surcharges on ratepayer bills. Holtec has stated they can do the job for less and more quickly.

“A hasty, quick job isn’t going to benefit anybody,” said Tauro. “Obviously there’s a strong desire to get that waste out of Lacey Township, but let’s make sure they don’t blow us all up doing that.”

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Clean Water Action has more than 150,000 members statewide in New Jersey and is the nation’s largest grassroots group focused on water, energy and environmental health. Since our founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking and people power to the table. We will protect clean water in the face of attacks from a polluter friendly Administration and Congress. www.cleanwater.org/nj

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