Public Comment On Oyster Creek Sale Extended

Photo courtesy Exelon

LACEY – Those who wish to make their voices heard on the sale of Oyster Creek Generating Station may still do so. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) recently announced that the deadline has been extended to Jan. 9, 2019.

Exelon Generation, owner of Oyster Creek, signed a purchase agreement with Holtec International, a Camden-based dry cask storage manufacturer, for the ownership of the plant back in July 2018. The purchase agreement also stipulates that Holtec International, upon approval of the sale, will take over the decommissioning process.

According to the NRC, Holtec plans to speed up the decommissioning timeline significantly, approximating eight years until completion, as stated in previous reports.

The NRC is currently reviewing the terms of the sale from Exelon to Holtec, but a decision has not yet been made.

The time for public comment has been extended after various local and state organizations and environmental groups lobbied for further review of the sale.

 Jersey Shore Online reported in early November that the Clean Water Action campaign requested further review and more time for the decision to be made. Clean Water Action reached out to Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) to help obtain an extension for public comment. CWA also appealed for a review of the proposed transfer of the license and multi-million dollar decommissioning fund by the state attorney general.

Environmentalists such as the NJ Sierra Club echoed those sentiments, also requesting a public hearing of the NRC.

Janet Tauro, NJ Clean Water Action Board Chair, stated “Anyone who has ever participated in an NRC proceeding knows its daunting complexity for the average citizen. The cards are generally stacked pro-industry, and against the public, and Senator Booker went to bat for us and we applaud him.

“There are serious issues to explore, not the least of which is who has access to deadly nuclear material. That lifts this from a local to national security issue,” she said.

A major concern with the sale to Holtec is the process that the company plans to use for decommissioning.  

According to CWA, Holtec aims to complete decommissioning in just eight years with “proto-prompt” technology that would transfer “highly radioactive spent fuel rods from an overhead cooling pool into on-site dry casks,” to be shipped cross-country to another Holtec storage facility.

These organizations are calling Holtec’s plan a bit hasty, considering Exelon’s original 60-year decommissioning timeline laid out by the NRC.

“A hasty, quick job isn’t going to benefit anybody,” said Tauro. “Obviously there’s a strong desire to get that waste out of Lacey Township, but let’s make sure they don’t blow us all up doing that.”

The NRC is expected to make a decision by May 2019.   Residents interested in providing public comment can visit nrc.gov for more information.