Oyster Creek nuclear plant shuts down after 49 years

Oldest nuclear plant in country will be decommissioned over next decade

Ian Bush
September 17, 2018 - 5:46 pm
Oyster Creek nuclear plant

Ian Bush | KYW Newsradio

OCEAN COUNTY, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — After nearly half a century, high noon brought the last gasp for the oldest commercial nuclear plant in the nation. 

Oyster Creek in Ocean County now heads toward decommissioning over the next decade.

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Given the regimented operation of a nuclear facility, even the moment of shutdown must be undramatic.

"We opened our output breakers and stopped supplying electricity to the power grid," said Oyster Creek Vice President Tim Moore.

But that doesn't mean it was unemotional.

"The operators announced that in 10 seconds, after 49 years of service to the community, Oyster Creek Generating Station is coming offline."

In powering 600,000 homes, the amount of carbon abated over those years is expressed in exponential form. 

"It's been a great, great neighbor to us," said Lacey Township committeeman Gary Quinn. "I certainly know the residents are going to miss it. This is not the end of it. We're going to move forward with hopefully other things being built on this site."

Before redevelopment, the safe storage and removal of spent nuclear fuel is the task of 300 workers who are staying on most of the current crew. Proposed owner Holtec believes Oyster Creek can be decontaminated and demolished in about eight years.