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Oyster Creek to close this year but it should have shut in 2011

Beyond Nuclear today issued a press release welcoming a decision by Exelon to again move the shutdown date for its Oyster Creek, NJ reactor sooner, but decrying the absence of safety enforcement that should have seen the plant close as soon as the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster began in Japan, on March 11, 2011. 

“While we welcome Exelon’s announcement that it will close its Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in October 2018, this should have happened immediately after the March 11, 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan,” said Paul Gunter, Director of the Reactor Oversight Project at Beyond Nuclear, a leading national anti-nuclear watchdog group.  

Exelon announced today that it would shut the reactor more than a year earlier than its December 2019 closure date, but the company has not given an explanation for its decision. However, an Exelon press release alludes to “managing costs.” Oyster Creek is the first and the oldest Fukushima-design nuclear reactor in the world, a GE Mark I boiling water reactor. 

“It’s clear that Oyster Creek and the entire, aging U.S. nuclear reactor fleet is hemorrhaging financially,” Gunter said. “The fact that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the nuclear industry continue to prioritize financial margins over public safety margins is a growing concern, especially at the remaining 29 Fukushima style reactors still operating in the U.S.,” Gunter continued. 

“None of our country’s Fukushima-design reactors should have operated for even one more day once we saw the catastrophic events publicly unfold worldwide at Fukushima,” Gunter said.

Read the full press release.