Oyster Creek license questioned

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said lessons learned from the nuclear crisis in Japan do not warrant revoking the license of the U.S.’s oldest nuclear power plant.

The commission made the statement in response to a federal appeals court that asked if the Japanese crisis should lead to re-thinking Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station's current 20-year license, which was extended in 2009.

"Licensed nuclear power reactors in the United States are currently safe and may continue to operate under NRC's comprehensive scheme of safety regulations and inspections, pending development of any new safety measures that emerge," the Associated Press quoted the NRC as saying in its response.

A coalition of anti-nuclear groups asked an appeals court to reconsider whether the plant’s license should have been renewed because of the power plant’s age. Oyster Creek was first brought online in 1969.

"As with the post-TMI and post-9/11 regulatory enhancements, any lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi event will be applied generically to all reactors, including Oyster Creek, as appropriate to their location, design, construction, and operation," the agency was quoted as saying. "No safety, technical, or policy justification exists to single out particular reactors for different treatment just because of their place in the licensing queue or status on judicial review."

Oyster Creek's license allows it to operate until 2029. Exelon Corp., which owns the plant, agreed with the state of New Jersey to shut down the plant 10 years early, in 2019. In return, the state dropped a request for Oyster Creek to build cooling towers.

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