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Oyster Creek Plant, the nation's first large commercial reactor  (Source: NRC)

Plants must go through an extensive multistep license process that ensures environmental and safety compliance. Despite this, environmentalists claim that the operators haven't given adequate information, and are suing to try to prevent the plant's reopening.  (Source: NRC)
Its the same tired tactics and hot air from radical environmental groups

The Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station sits near the shore of New Jersey, in Lacey Township, a small town in Ocean County.  The single boiling water reactor, commissioned in 1969, was the first large-scale commercial nuclear power plant in the United States.  It has a capacity of 625 MW, producing over 5,000 GWh in 2007, about 9 percent of the state's energy.

The benefits of the plant are numerous.  It reduces reliance on unstable oil sources, it provides clean energy, and it’s far cheaper than wind or solar, rivaling even fossil fuel generation in cost per kilowatt-hour.  The plant also is a boon for the local economy, creating over 900 jobs and donating over $100,000 yearly to the charity United Way.

This spring the plant won a 20-year extension of its operating license.  That's when the environmentalists reared their heads.  A plethora of alarmist groups, including the
New Jersey Environmental Federation, the New Jersey Sierra Club, the Public Interest Research Group, the Nuclear Information Resource Service and Grandmothers, Mothers and More for Energy Safety (GRAMMES) appealed the decision, taking it to the federal court system. 

The coalition's attorney, Richard Webster, of the Eastern Environmental Law Center, claims that the suit is over lack of information about how the plant will continue to operate safely.  This claim is flat-out false.  The plant submitted a bit of light reading -- a 462-page licensing application and a 59-page environmental impact report.  Both reports extensively detailed the safety precautions and environmental safeguards the plant would take.

The environmentalists' complaints center around two topics.  The first is Barnegat Bay.  The plant dumps controlled amounts of non-radioactive cooling water into the bay.  The water has little if any impact, raising the temperature at most a couple degrees in a small localized region.  Solar warming and currents can create similar heat pockets in ocean water without human intervention.

The second complaint concerns the 650 tons of radioactive waste that sits in a holding pond outside the plant.  Again, while the lobbies are eager to alarm the public, this pond, carefully constructed with concrete, poses no threat to the populace.  In the first place, this is low-grade radioactive waste, and secondly it has been carefully maintained.  And it is important to remember that these are the same lobbies that blocked applications of new plants that could remove and reprocess this waste.

If the people want something to protest about, protest the Environmental Federation, the Sierra Club, and these alarmists.  They are hurting the environment, their community, and our nation.  Worst of all, by forcing power companies to lose productivity and spend funds on legal defense; they're raising the cost of power for New Jersey citizens.  Let's hope this one sees its way swiftly through the Justice System and that people -- and our government representatives start standing up to this kind of behavior.

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RE: Don't lump us all together
By atomicrod on 6/6/2009 5:01:22 AM , Rating: 5
I am also an environmentalist who is strongly supportive of nuclear power. Whenever I read about efforts to shut down an operating reactor or to slow or stop the construction of a new one, I follow the advice of the guy in the movie "Follow the Money".

The main financial beneficiaries of any effort to reduce the production of electricity from atomic fission are the people who sell coal, oil and natural gas to the plants that produce electricity through fossil fuel combustion.

Less fission = more sales for the fossil fuel industry. The amount is non-trivial; shutting down a single 650 MWe nuclear plant increases fossil fuel sales (probably natural gas) by more than $1 million PER DAY in the local area where the plant is shut down.

Perhaps that is why many of the established mainstream environmental groups are so well supported and have so many members who are "establishment" figures. In the American economy, fossil fuel based wealth has a very long and deep history of domination. Think about where Rockefeller, Pew, Ford, and countless other foundations got their endowments. When Ted Turner is not building networks, he is drilling for gas in the high desert. ( T. Boone Pickens, the current darling of the mainstream environmental groups is a long time gas salesman.

Follow the money and stop blaming "environmentalists" for opposition to nuclear power. Scratch the surface of the groups to find their real financial support.

Rod Adams
Publisher, Atomic Insights

RE: Don't lump us all together
By Danish1 on 6/6/2009 7:29:14 AM , Rating: 5
Follow the money and stop blaming "environmentalists" for opposition to nuclear power. Scratch the surface of the groups to find their real financial support.

Never underestimate the stupidity of people in large groups.

In this case the large group would be Greenpeace.

I do believe you're on to something though.

RE: Don't lump us all together
By mmntech on 6/7/2009 6:12:49 PM , Rating: 4
Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund. I love to have a good laugh at how ludicrous Earth Hour is.
I don't buy the argument that about oil companies trying to discourage nuclear power, or all the other things they're accused of financially meddling with. It's a tired, hack argument. It's conveniently never brought up that environmental NGOs have huge financial steaks in these kinds of issues. The fact that Greenpeace made $300 million US in revenue in 2007 speaks for itself.

The issue with nuclear is that people immediately think of Chernobyl. Something that neo-luddite environmental groups capitalize on. One major incident in some 50 years of nuclear energy is not enough to label it as dangerous. Chernobyl was disastrous but it was so because of the incompetence of the Soviet designers who failed to incorporate even the most basic safety systems into its design. Renewable sources such as solar and wind power are important in supplementing our power supply but they cannot entirely replace thermal and nuclear plants. I read a journal article last summer that stated that the entire island of Kyushu would have to be covered in solar panels just to power Tokyo alone. No matter how many twisty light bulbs you make people install, it's not going to change the trend of increasing energy demand. It's too late to turn the clocks back. Nuclear power is absolutely necessary. Environmentalists are only delaying the inevitable. In the mean time, energy shortages are putting a huge tax on the grid, costing the world's economies billions.

RE: Don't lump us all together
By austinag on 6/9/2009 11:32:10 AM , Rating: 4
Well said.
Also, diversification of our energy sources is just as important as environmental or political concerns. Nuclear energy has to represent a piece of the puzzle.

RE: Don't lump us all together
By AlexWade on 6/6/2009 7:47:24 AM , Rating: 3
Big Oil and Big Coal are not the ones who are stopping nuclear power. Sure, they may have a financial incentive to stop it. However, why would Big Oil and Big Coal willingly fund a group who is opposed to what they do? Why give money to a group who is actively trying to stop you from making money? As you say, follow the money. The way Big Coal is stopping nuclear power is by running TV commercials advertising clean coal technology. And then lets face it, Big Oil knows it will be at least decades before a viable alternative comes along.

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