Oyster Creek Still Planning To Close In 2019 [AUDIO]
A Circuit Court's ruling regarding the Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in Vermont will probably not effect the Oyster Creek Generating Station in Lacey Township.
Nuclear Regulators say it's highly unlikely the recent court action will have impact at all. They can't be certain but recent talks with plant owner Exelon seem to keep things as planned.
Last week, a federal judge agreed to keep the Vermont-based plant open despite several attempts by the state and the legislature to close it. Oyster Creek's owner plans to cease operations in 2019, ten years before it's license was set to expire. This comes only a few years after the license to operate was renewed for another 20 years. Why the change of heart? Both the state and the company agreed to close early because they realize it's too costly to install cooling towers to protect the Barnegat Bay and Governor Christie has been working on measures to improve the health of the watershed through a ten point plan.
So with the vote at Yankee Nuclear, environmentalists in New Jersey are concerned a reversal could come up during the next seven years. Neil Sheehan says while won't speculate, he says its probably never gonna happen.
Sheehan says "all our talks with Exelon have pointed to the closure ten years early. We extended the license to 2029 because we feel the plant is safe and can operate effectively, efficiently and safely for the next twenty years. However, with all that time and expense spent at hearings and keeping the issue alive, they aren't going to go back and change it again."
But what happens if a new Governor comes on board? We will most certainly have a new one by that time. Seven years seems like a long way off but it will be here before you know it. Then what? Sheehan says "in order for Oyster Creek to operate past 2019, both the state and Exelon have to sit down and hash it out."
Sheehan also says "we had nothing to do with the decision to get the plant shut down early. That was all the state and the plant owner. Whatever they decide, we will stand by the decision."