Excelon, operator of Oyster Creek has announced they will permanently shut down Oyster Creek in December of 2019. They recently received a license extension to operate until 2029. Exelon did not explain the reason for the decision.
During the re-licensing process opposition groups brought up that the process didn’t require any metals testing to assure the reactor vessel steel was stable enough to withstand additional years of operation. The NRC license review process states that it does not specifically look at technical limitations in relation to the 40 year time frame.
“Based on the Atomic Energy Act, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issues licenses for commercial power reactors to operate for up to 40 years and allows these licenses to be renewed for up to another 20 years. A 40-year license term was selected on the basis of economic and antitrust considerations, not technical limitations.”
There have been numerous lawsuits against the plant by the public and the state government, this, issues surrounding environmental laws and a requirement to build a set of cooling towers may have played a part in the decision to shut down early.
The official announcement came through the NRC email system today, copied below:
Mr. Michael J. Pacilio
President and Chief Nuclear Officer
4300 Winfield Road
Warrenville, IL 60555
SUBJECT: OYSTER CREEK NUCLEAR GENERATING STATION – NOTIFICATION OF
INTENT TO PERMANENTLY CEASE OPERATIONS (TAC NO. ME5401)
Dear Mr. Pacilio:
This letter acknowledges and confirms receipt of your letter dated January 7, 2011 (Agencywide
Documents Access and Management System Accession No. ML 110070507), submitted
pursuant to Title 10 of the Code ofFederal Regulations, Part 50, Section 50.82(a)(1 )(i). That
letter informed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) of your intent to permanently cease
operations at the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station no later than December 31,2019,
contingent upon issuance of a draft New Jersey Pollution Discharge Elimination System Surface
Water Permit. The draft permit was issued on June 1, 2011.
We will continue to verify the safe operation of the plant via the planned oversight under the
Reactor Oversight Process. Additionally, the NRC staff will factor the new date for cessation of
operations into planned oversight activities related to operational decisions.
G. Edward Miller, Project Manager
Plant Licensing Branch 1·2
Division of Operating Reactor Licensing
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation
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