Newspaper: “Disturbing risks” have emerged at NJ’s Oyster Creek nuke plant after Sandy — Reactor may be decommissioned early

Published: November 16th, 2012 at 1:25 am ET
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Title: Reactor requires objective review
Source: The Asbury Park Press
Date: Nov 15, 2012

Largely lost amid people’s concerns about the loss of electrical power, flooding and worse during and after superstorm Sandy was the potential for another even worse disaster at the Oyster Creek nuclear reactor in Lacey.

[...] Now, two new disturbing risks have surfaced in recent days: the plant’s vulnerability to a possible Fukushima-like meltdown and fatigue cracks that have been detected in the reactor vessel.

[...] the state should conduct its own independent analysis of the response and the newly discovered cracks in the reactor [...]

[...] The chairman of Exelon told Bloomberg News Wednesday that the company may speed the timetable for shutting down the plant if it faces unexpected new capital costs. Then so be it. [...]

Title: NRC probes Oyster Creek’s Hurricane Sandy response
Source: New Jersey Newsroom
Author: Roger Witherspoon
Date: November 15 2012

Federal regulators have launched a special probe to determine if officials at the Oyster Creek nuclear power violated rules and waited too long to declare an emergency alert as rising waters threatened critical reactors systems.

Three inspectors from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission began a “special inspection” Tuesday into the alert called by plant officials as waters driven by the storm rose to 7.4 feet in the plant’s intake structure. [...]

The rising water levels were of particular concern at Oyster Creek, explained NRC spokeswoman Diane Screnci, because if it rose too far it could impact the plant’s service water pumps, which are used to shut down the reactor itself.

The three member team, said Screnci, “are looking at the response of the emergency preparedness at the site, and the circumstances surrounding the rising levels in the intake structure. They are looking specifically at the timing of the alert declaration, and the company’s preparedness prior to the storm, the performance of its equipment, and their command and control during the storm. [...]

Bloomberg News, November 14, 2012: Exelon, the largest U.S. nuclear plant operator, would consider closing its Oyster Creek station before the plant’s planned 2019 decommissioning, Chief Executive Officer Christopher Crane said. Exelon would accelerate plans to close Oyster Creek in Forked River if it faced unexpected new capital costs at a time when depressed power prices and cheap renewable energy are squeezing nuclear generation margins, Crane said in an interview yesterday.

Nuclear Street, November 15, 2012: Exelon will weigh whether to decommission its Oyster Creek nuclear plant earlier than planned if its economics worsen between now and 2019.

Published: November 16th, 2012 at 1:25 am ET
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