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Public Justice Challenges NRC at Hearing Over Oyster Creek Nuclear Plant

Public Justice Challenges NRC at Hearing Over Oyster Creek Nuclear Plant

Concern about nuclear plant safety has only gotten more intense due to Hurricane Sandy.

Public Justice has been challenging the relicensing of Oyster Creek Nuclear Reactor since 2010. But, in the aftermath of Sandy, that challenge has taken on greater importance. Oyster Creek is a sitting duck; it’s the nation’s oldest nuclear power plant. It faces recurring malfunctions and safety issues, many of which were on display during and after Sandy. Oyster Creek is located right on the Jersey Shore, an area likely in the path of future storms.

“Hurricane Sandy was a wake up call on just how vulnerable this plant is,” says Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

Here’s a rundown of what’s happened over the last few weeks: On January 3rd, Public Justice’s Richard Webster spoke at an Nuclear Regulatory Commission hearing in Washington. Be sure to watch this video of Richard’s first speaking segment. It starts a little slowly, but stay with it — you’ll see an interesting exchange between Richard and the NRC’s petition revew board chair over what Public Justice considers to be the highly flawed process by which the NRC is evaluating the safety of Oyster Creek. (We’ll be posting other clips from the hearing, so please stay tuned. Some of our clients also spoke, via phone, and they had pointed and emotional words for the NRC panel.)

NRC.gov website (http://video.nrc.gov)

The day following the hearing, the Asbury Park Press published this editorial, which slammed the NRC for not responding to any of the questions raised during the hearing. That story was closely followed by a New York Times piece also critical of the NRC.

Then, on Monday, January 7th, a public meeting of the Oyster Creek Advisory Panel was held in Toms River, N.J. Like the NRC, the advisory panel did not respond to any questions, and Public Justice’s clients — concerned citizens and local environmental groups — were not too happy about it.

More press followed the hearing: “Concerned Citizens Want Answers on Oyster Creek, Following Sandy” and a second scathing Asbury Park Press editorial, this one over the lack of action taken by Gov. Chris Christie and the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection.