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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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Follow the Money
By atomicrod on 6/6/2009 5:13:54 AM , Rating: 3
Who is paying the bills for the attorneys that are working on this case? The coalition members involved have been professionally fighting nuclear power for decades - where does their financial support come from?

Raising money for most non-profits is hard work, but groups like these seem to have no difficulty hiring attorneys for frivolous law suits that tie up resources that could be better applied somewhere else. After all, this story is about an effort by an environmental coalition in New Jersey! That state hosts plenty of more hazardous or environmentally destructive facilities that could be sued.

Shutting down a nuclear plant the size of Oyster Creek would increase the sales of natural gas in the local area by approximately $1 million PER DAY. If the increased demand for gas is sufficient to make supplies a bit tight, that effect could be even larger due to the increased price for all other gas customers in the area.

Food for thought: Are mainstream "environmental" groups focused against nuclear power by their establishment backers who secretly LIKE burning coal, oil and natural gas because they come from families who make their money by selling those fuels?

Less fission = more fossil fuel combustion (and increased sales for the fossil fuel industry)

(solar and wind are just distractions in the discussion; together they supply less than 1.5% of the electricity consumed in the US each year.)

Rod Adams
Publisher, Atomic Insights




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