Well, at least we still have WalMart.
And the fish will be alive.


Date: 22 Jan 2004
From: "Suzanne Leta" {sleta@njpirg.org}


By Suzanne Leta and Bob Anstett, Asbury Park Press, 1/22/04

Imagine driving a 1969 diesel truck day in and day out, seven days a
week, 365 days a year, for 35 years. The metal rusts, the muffler goes
out, the starter stops and the years of soot in your lungs have given
you cancer. The idea of the engine going out in the middle of a busy
highway is enough to make your head spin.

Like a truck that will soon die of age and overuse, the Oyster Creek
Nuclear Generating Station in Lacey is an old and dangerous operation.
The plant is quickly approaching its 35th birthday this August, but it
is no cause for celebration.

Oyster Creek is the oldest operating nuclear power plant in the
country. The plant's reactor design also has dangerous shortcomings.
In 1972, more than 30 years ago, the Atomic Energy Commission
prohibited the construction of any new plants with the same design.
The commission was especially concerned about a particular design flaw
that remains a serious danger to communities today. In the case of an
accident, the public would be exposed to large amounts of high-
pressure, highly radioactive steam in order to prevent a meltdown
within the reactor itself.

Oyster Creek's current operating license is set to end in 2009. Even
this retirement date is beyond its lifetime, as the plant was
originally licensed to operate a maximum of 35 years. Exelon Corp.,
the parent company of AmerGen, will likely submit an application to
the Nuclear Regulatory Commission requesting a license extension of 20
years. The application is due this April.

The NRC has a long history of overlooking significant safety problems
and rubber-stamping license extensions. This year, government reports
found significant flaws in NRC regulation. For example, structural
cracks were found at plants in South Carolina and Arkansas after the
NRC granted both plants 20-year license extensions, and the agency
barely missed serious corrosion at the Davis-Besse plant in Ohio.
Simply put, if we trust NRC inspections, we're running the risk of
having a 60-year-old rust bucket of a nuclear reactor sitting right in
our back yards.

Retiring Oyster Creek will have a positive impact on the community.
According to the state Department of Treasury, Lacey will continue to
receive the same $11.5 million in energy tax subsidies after the plant
is retired. Many Oyster Creek employees will continue employment, as a
large and experienced work force will be needed during the years-long
decommissioning process.

Oyster Creek's energy production can be easily replaced by clean,
safe and renewable energy alternatives already in development. This
year, the McGreevey administration established rules requiring 4
percent of the state's energy production to come from renewable
sources by 2008. Renewable energy production will not only replace old
and dangerous plants like Oyster Creek, but will also provide new job
markets in the coming years.

The benefits of retiring Oyster Creek are clear. The accumulation of
nuclear waste will finally cease. Environmental impacts such as fish
kills will no longer be a threat to our state's marine life. Our
energy production will be replaced with clean and renewable sources.
And most importantly, a menacing risk to the safety of New Jersey
residents will be erased. Retiring an aging plant rather than allowing
it to continue operating for 60 years is the best form of emergency

Unfortunately, the NRC and Exelon will likely ignore the facts and
support a 20-year license extension without due consideration of
serious public health and safety concerns. We cannot depend on
corporate executives and agency officials in Washington to make the
right decisions about New Jersey's future. New Jersey leaders,
especially Gov. McGreevey and our U.S. senators, must start to voice
opposition to the plant's continued operation.

Just like an old and sputtering truck in the fast lane on the Garden
State Parkway, Oyster Creek's time is up. It is the responsibility of
state officials to stand up for the safety of the community and oppose
the continued operation of aging and dangerous plants. New Jerseyans
don't want a cracking, corroding 60-year-old nuclear reactor pumping
away in their back yards and they don't need it.

- - -

Suzanne Leta is energy associate for New Jersey Public Interest
Research Group. Bob Anstett is president of Citizens Conservation
Council of New Jersey.

Copyright (c) 1997-2003 IN Jersey.


BorderWalker said:
Personally, I always thought the three-headed fish out of Oyster Creek were rather cute. A bit of local charm, you know?
I agree, something akin to the frogs with extra legs and unabsorbed tails...