After nation's oldest nuclear plant closes, radioactive material will remain for decades

A public hearing on the plan is scheduled in Lacey Township on July 17.

Mike DeNardo
July 03, 2018 - 11:06 am
Reactor operator Chris Mitchell explains the control room at the Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant in Lacey, New Jersey, the oldest nuclear plant in the country, in 2004.

lde / MCT

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OCEAN COUNTY, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — The nation's oldest nuclear plant, Oyster Creek in South Jersey, is going to shut down in two months. But the radioactive material there will remain for decades.

The Ocean County nuclear plant, which opened in 1969, will stop generating electricity on Sept. 17, according to a plan its operator Exelon submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

"Under this plan, they would not actually begin dismantlement work until sometime in the 2073 time frame," said NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan. Over the next six years, he says, the spent fuel will be transferred to secure dry storage units that will remain at Oyster Creek.

"There really are no other options at this point. We do not at this juncture have a federal repository for spent nuclear fuel," Sheehan said.

He says the vaults are safe from earthquakes, hurricanes and other threats. A public hearing on the plan is scheduled in Lacey Township on July 17.