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Judge orders temporary stop to decommissioning Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station

Judge Orders Decommissioning Temporarily Halted at Former Nuclear Plant

Lacey Officials, Oyster Creek Generating Station Owners Disagree on Land Use Oversight, The Sandpaper, June 24, 2020, By Gina G. Scala  Ocean County Superior Court Judge Francis R. Hodgson issued an order of temporary restraint to the owners of the shuttered Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station on June 2, stopping all decommissioning activities unrelated to site security and maintaining the dry cask storage of spent nuclear fuel.

Hodgson’s order came after counsel for Lacey Township filed a complaint against Holtec International and Holtec Decommissioning International in late May.

Holtec is a Camden-based global energy technology company that assumed ownership and licensee status of Oyster Creek in June 2019 after a near 10-month application review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The plant had previously been owned by Exelon Generation, part of the Exelon Corp. nuclear fleet. Lacey Township is the host community of the shuttered nuclear plant, which went online in December 1969 and sits on 779 acres of land in the Forked River section of the township.

In his finding, Hodgson ordered that pending a future court date, Holtec is temporarily prohibited and restrained from continuing any and all work at the facility unless or until permits are provided to plaintiff’s attorney documenting that the work being undertaken is permitted by the appropriate regulatory authority.

At issue is whether the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 and other federal law supersedes the uniform construction code and municipal oversight from mandating a building permit, local planning board approval and site plan approval, among other approvals, prior to construction beginning, according to Jerry J. Dasti, head counsel for Lacey Township, writing in a June 11 supplemental memorandum of law argument filed with Hodgson.

Citing the U.S. Constitution and numerous state and federal Supreme Court cases, Dasti argued determining preemptive status of state laws is well established and Holetc’s argument doesn’t meet the criteria.  ……..

Holtec has until June 24 to respond, in writing, to Hodgson’s order, including a request for relief from his determination. The township has until June 29 to file its written response in opposition, according to the June 2 order of temporary restraint.

In the meantime, Holtec officials have come to an agreement with the state of Massachusetts on key issues related to the safe decommissioning of the Pilgrim Nuclear Station, located on Cape Cod Bay in Plymouth.  ……

Both Oyster Creek and Pilgrim were boiling water reactors powered by General Electric. The nuclear power plants both used local water sources as their cooling method, as opposed to cooling towers. Oyster Creek permanently ceased operations on Sept. 17, 2018. Pilgrim was shuttered on May 31, 2019.

June 29, 2020 - Posted by | Legal, USA

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