UPDATE: Oyster Creek Shuts Down Before Hurricane Irene Strikes

Inspectors will be on site throughout the weekend monitoring conditions

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.

Resident of Lacey August 28, 2011 at 03:13 AM
Yes, shut the plant down... and BUILD not one but TWO new ones to replace it on the same site. Great Job! to the plant workers.
kearns August 28, 2011 at 02:35 PM
Resident must be an employee about to lose his or her job when OCNGS does eventually shut its doors in a few years. I have worked at this plant and numerous others both here in the USA and abroad. In my opinion the NRC had no business renewing the operating liscense for this Generating station as it is an accident waiting to happen. It is old , small ,extremely dirty from a radiological stand point, expensive to run, has been maintained to the bare minimum of standards, in order to remain profitable, and will be replaced on the grid shortly by other nuclear sites which are currently being built. The only reason it is still in operation is that the State of NJ threw a wrench in the works for the decommissioning of this plant by making it mandatory that the whole plant be removed lock stock and barrell and not just shut down and monitored which is what the current owner who I believe purchased the site to decommission it has done at several other plants that it owns. Tough break for the taxpayers of Lacey Township and for all those who moved there and started businesses which are parasites to the plant. And anyone who moved there and complains about the site being there, if you don't want to smell pigs, don't move next to a pig farm. Plants been there since 1967 and went online in 1969.
Frank Meyer August 28, 2011 at 03:02 PM
FYI, it takes a 40 square mile area of solar panels to generate 40 megawatts of power. Oyster Creek produces 650 megawatts. Can we put the solar panels in your yard?
Frank Meyer August 28, 2011 at 03:11 PM
First off the are no new plants being built in the PJM grid at this time. The design and materials used to build Oyster Creek were of a Quality that is not seen today. Many newer plants have more issues with steel stress cracks then Oyster Creek, there are no issues at the plant at this time. Not sure when you worked at the plant, but it is really clean at this time. Lacey taxes will probably at least double when it shuts down.
Mike M August 28, 2011 at 03:42 PM
Frank- Doesn't take as much space as you indicated; Nevada Solar One is a concentrated solar power plant, with a nominal capacity of 64 MW and maximum capacity of 75 MW spread over an area of 400 Acres, or a bit more than .6 sq. miles. The projected CO2 emissions avoided is equivalent to taking approximately 20,000 cars off the road annually. The project required an investment of $266 million USD and the project officially went to operation in June 2007. Electricity production is estimated to be 134 million kilowatt hours per year. Still equal to a lot of land, but nowhere near 40 acres. Faster and cheaper to build and maintain, plus a lot safer.


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