Sunday, April 12, 2009

Oldest US Nuclear Plant Gets a New 20-Year License

LACEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — The nation's oldest nuclear power plant has been granted a new license allowing it to operate for another 20 years.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission dismissed objections from anti-nuclear and environmental groups and issued the license Wednesday to the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in Lacey Township, N.J., about 50 miles east of Philadelphia and 75 miles south of New York City.

Opposition centered on corrosion to a metal enclosure that keeps superheated radioactive steam within a containment building at the 39-year-old plant.

The NRC says the enclosure is safe despite previous water leaks. Chicago-based plant operator Exelon Corp. has made repairs.

Oyster Creek's boiling-water reactor is considered obsolete by today's standards.

But the plant generates enough electricity to power 600,000 homes a year. It provides 9 percent of New Jersey's electricity.

It went online Dec. 1, 1969.

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