LACEY – Environmentalists from the New Jersey Sierra Club are demanding the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant’s closure after the plant had another unexpected shutdown, which occurred earlier this week due to a fault in the plant’s turbine system on the non-nuclear side according to plant officials.
The Oyster Creek nuclear power plant temporarily shut down on Monday morning due to a fault in the turbine control system – and the latest unplanned shutdown has drawn additional scrutiny from New Jersey environmentalists concerned with the plant’s effects on the Barnegat Bay and surrounding areas.
“A Disaster Waiting To Happen” Says Jeff Tittel
“Once again, there is another incident at Oyster Creek showing that the plant should be permanently shut down,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of The New Jersey Sierra Club.
“This plant has been held together by floss and ceiling wax. The plant seems to mark the change of the seasons since every few months something happens. This time there was a turbine failure.”
“For the past few years, there have been a series of shutdowns. Tritium leaks, compressor problems, pump problems, drywall liner erosion, turbine control failure…the list keeps growing. It needs to close now it because it is a disaster waiting to happen, ” he said in a statement.
“Oyster Creek is the oldest operating nuclear plant in the country and is showing its age. We believe the plant needs to close sooner than the planned 2020 closing. Closing the plant will also help protect the Barnegat Bay from thermal pollution and fish kills. This plant is like driving a 1969 Chevy Nova in the age of Tesla.”
The Sierra Club cited Oyster Creek’s “long series of problems” over the years, including:
- tritium leaks into the groundwater
- substation failure
- corrosion of the drywall liner
- closure due to flooding during Superstorm Sandy
- no waterproof air vents
- above ground storage of spent fuel rods
- problems with cooling pumps
“By NRC standards, their reports showing frequent equipment failures should be an alarm bell going off. Now there has been another emergency shutdown and even more cause for concern,” said Tittel.
Earlier this year, a federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspection report from May 12th found an additional failure at the plant tied to old equipment.
“The only reason the significance was considered low in NRC’s reports was that Exelon didn’t violate any rules. High significance would be considered a catastrophe like Fukushima, which was designed similarly to Forked River. The Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania was originally considered moderate until they later determined it was a meltdown at the core.”
“Shutting down the Oyster Creek plant would reduce the algae blooms, improve fish populations and help restore the overall ecosystem of the Barnegat Bay,” Tittel concluded. “We need to urge the NRC to close this plant and reduce all its negative impacts to the surrounding ecosystem and people.”