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Oyster Creek nuclear plant will close, despite pro nuclear court ruling about Vermont

jurisdictional issues over safety and water quality mean the Vermont Yankee ruling has little impact on the agreement to close Oyster Creek. 

Every day Oyster Creek strains 1.4 billion gallons of bay water through its cooling system, he said. The bay only has 60 billion gallons of water. The strain Oyster Creek puts on the bay is equivalent to 2.4 percent of the bay’s water each day and 800 percent each year.

“It’s just a gargantuan death machine as far as fish eggs and plant larva,” 

Oyster Creek Stands By Closure Plan Despite Federal Court Ruling ‘No similarities’ between Vermont ruling and Lacey nuclear plant’s planned shutdown, DEP says Lacey Patch, By Elaine Piniat, 23 Jan 12,  Oyster Creek will stick to the plan to close in 2019 after a federal judge ruled that the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant could remain open beyond its scheduled shutdown date, plant spokesperson Suzanne D’Ambrosio said.

“We made a commitment to our regulators and to the public,” she said. “Our commitment and our plan is to retire Oyster Creek in 2019. That’s the plan.”
A U.S. district judge in Brattelboro, Vt., ruled Thursday that the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant could remain open beyond its scheduled shutdown date this year, the Washington Post reported. The state had originally ruled against Vermont Yankee’s federal operating license, which gives the plant 20 more years to operate.

Advocates opposed to Oyster Creek have showed concerns that this federal decision could impact the Forked River-based nuclear plant’s closure date.

“I think it’s my worst fears coming true,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We are very concerned about federal pre-emption over state agreements. Federal law trumps state law.”

The DEP and an environmental attorney, however, say jurisdictional issues over safety and water quality mean the Vermont Yankee ruling has little impact on the agreement to close Oyster Creek.

Nuclear Safety a Federal Concern

The decision to shut down Oyster Creek early was made in December 2010 as a result of “economic conditions” and “changing environmental regulations” causing Oyster Creek’s value to decline, said Chris Crane, president and chief operating officer of Exelon Corp, the plant’s owner.

Factors leading to the plant’s closure include low market prices and demand, and the plant’s need for continuing large capital expenditures, Crane previously said. The closure of Oyster Creek was also a part of Gov. Chris Chistie’s 10-point plan to restore the Barnegat Bay.

The state Department of Environmental Protection was poised to require the plant to install cooling towers to recirculate cooling water instead of drawing more than a billion gallons of water from Barnegat Bay each day. The project would run up substantial costs and to design, permit and construct a system would take at least seven years.

Due to Exelon’s decision to retire the plant early, the DEP will not require the company to install cooling towers……

Water Quality, Cooling Towers

The concerns of Save Barnegat Bay and the Sierra Club originate from the need for cooling towers.

“Our huge concern with Oyster Creek is the tremendous harm they’re doing to the bay by not having a cooling tower,” de Camp said.

Every day Oyster Creek strains 1.4 billion gallons of bay water through its cooling system, he said. The bay only has 60 billion gallons of water. The strain Oyster Creek puts on the bay is equivalent to 2.4 percent of the bay’s water each day and 800 percent each year.

“It’s just a gargantuan death machine as far as fish eggs and plant larva,” de Camp said.

Exelon is closing the plant because they do not want to fix the issue with cooling towers, Tittel said, which could prove to be a problem because just as the Nuclear Regulator Commission regulates safety, it also regulates environmental and economic issues, he said…..

acey.patch.com/articles/oyster-creek-stands-by-closure-plan-despite-federal-court-ruling

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January 24, 2012 - Posted by | USA, water

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