Operators at Oyster Creek Generating Station took the station’s generator off line at approximately 5 p.m., spokesperson Suzanne D’Ambrosio said.
Based on the storm conditions, the station began reducing power to 30 percent at 8 a.m. this morning due to the storm projections.
The plant’s procedures call for a shutdown if on-site winds are greater than 85 mph. An Unusual Event will be declared if wind speeds reach greater than 99 mph, said Neil Sheehan, spokesperson for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
“Although we cannot predict with certainty whether we will see those wind speeds on the plant site, based on current weather projections and because of Oyster Creek’s proximity to Barnegat Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, it is prudent to safely shut down the plant in advance,” said Site Vice President Michael Massaro.
Inspectors will be on site throughout the weekend monitoring conditions and the company’s response, as well as providing real-time updates to the NRC Region I Incident Response Center, which tracks storm impacts, Sheehan said.
The inspectors have already assessed on-site hurricane preparations, he said. Resident inspectors assigned to the nuclear plant will be on site and will be supplemented, as needed, by additional NRC inspectors.
The plant has been preparing for Hurricane Irene since Thursday, Aug. 25.
Oyster creek once it was determined that the plant could be in the path of the storm and formal procedures and preparations were enacted, spokesperson Suzanne D’Ambrosio said.
Plant operators have assured that all plant safety systems are operational; that all outside equipment, materials and other items are properly secured and stowed, and that plant procedures related to the affects of a hurricane are reviewed and ready for use if needed, D’Ambrosio said.
Oyster Creek is the oldest operating nuclear plant in the country and provides enough around-the-clock electricity for 600,000 New Jersey homes and began commercial operations in 1969.