The Ocean County Freeholder Board, as well as the governing bodies of Lacey and Ocean (Waretown), have adopted resolutions supporting legislation (S-866/A-296) introduced by Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove that would establish an 11-member New Jersey Coordinating Council on the Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Generating Facilities. The Barnegat Township Committee has announced it will consider a Resolution at its next meeting scheduled in early April.
Under the legislation, the Decommissioning Council would be charged with coordinating and reviewing the development and implementation of plans prepared by public utilities and governmental agencies for the decommissioning of electric generating nuclear facilities in order to assure that the plans and plan implementation comport with applicable federal and state laws and policies.
Specifically, the Council would review plans, studies and schedules related to; the useful life of each facility; the physical decommissioning of a facility; the estimated costs of decommissioning and the financial plan for funding those costs; any environmental impacts of a decommissioning; the storage, transportation and disposal of radioactive materials or wastes from the facility; the safety and security measures to be taken during the decommissioning; the sources and costs of replacement power required to meet the service area demands associated with the decommissioning or any other matter affecting public health, safety and welfare.
This past December, the 9th District Delegation wrote to Governor Chris Christie asking for the Administration’s support for their legislation following the announcement by Exelon, the operator of the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Facility, that the company will cease operations at the facility in 2019.
Following the passage of the Resolutions in support of their bill, Senator Connors, Assemblyman Rumpf and Assemblywoman Gove issued the following statement:
“We are deeply grateful for the support from the Ocean County Freeholder Board, as well as the governing bodies of Lacey, Ocean and Barnegat Townships. This legislation was introduced more than five years ago with the understanding that one day the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station, the oldest facility of its kind in the country, would cease operations. When first introduced, our legislation was misunderstood as calling for Oyster Creek to be shut down when, in fact, the real intent was to prepare for the inevitable decommissioning process which, as we all know, will be sooner than many had expected.
“Since Oyster Creek will not operate throughout the entire time period allowed under the most recent license renewal permit, it is essential that we examine and prepare for the broad, complex and very serious issues associated with the decommissioning of a nuclear facility.
“Most importantly, we are concerned with preventing or mitigating any negative economic or environmental impact on those communities that would be most drastically impacted by the decommissioning of a nuclear facility. The Council would provide for a continuous dialogue and flow of information, while also serving as a forum to assert the public interest, including at the local level.
“We have been advised that our legislation will be posted in the Senate Environment and Energy Committee sometime in May. It is anticipated amendments will be proposed. While we certainly welcome any input, our Delegation will not consider any amendment that would diminish the ability of the Council to represent the public’s interest during the decommissioning process.”