PolitickerNJ Wire Feed

By Office of Senator Frank R. Lautenberg | January 29th, 2013 - 12:16pm
| More

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) sent a letter asking U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman Allison Macfarlane to address safety issues at the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station following Superstorm Sandy. The NRC has reported that during the storm, many of the facility's emergency sirens failed to operate and water levels rose in the intake structure. In addition, a subsequent inspection found a small leak in the cooling system.

“The NRC has an obligation not only to ensure the safe operation of nuclear facilities like Oyster Creek, but also to inform affected communities about steps being taken to address safety concerns identified by the agency,” wrote Senator Lautenberg, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, which has jurisdiction over the NRC.

The full text of the letter is below:

January 25, 2013

Dear Chairman Macfarlane:

I am writing to request an update on actions being taken by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to address safety concerns that have been reported at the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station following Superstorm Sandy.

As you know, Superstorm Sandy hit New Jersey on October 29, 2012, bringing unprecedented damage to our coastline, our infrastructure, and homes throughout the state. Given that New Jersey is home to four nuclear reactors that provide approximately 50 percent of the state’s electricity, we were fortunate that our nuclear power facilities generally weathered the storm well and that local communities were not put in danger. However, three safety concerns have arisen at Oyster Creek in Ocean County, New Jersey, in the wake of Sandy.

NRC has reported that 36 of Oyster Creek’s 43 Emergency Planning Zone sirens failed to operate during Superstorm Sandy. These sirens are designed to warn the public of potential hazards in the event of an emergency. The malfunction of these sirens is of deep concern, even though the plant was off-line for scheduled refueling prior to Superstorm Sandy. Please provide me with any steps the NRC is taking to correct these failures and ensure that all emergency sirens are operable during future emergencies.

In addition, rising tides, the direction of the wind, and the storm’s surge combined to raise water levels in Oyster Creek’s intake structure. High water levels at the facility prompted safety officials to declare an “unusual event,” which was later upgraded to an “alert.” While water levels eventually receded, this experience demonstrates a potential safety risk during future extreme weather events. Please provide me with NRC’s plans to review or update Oyster Creek’s emergency disaster plans to incorporate lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy, including changes in storm surge and flooding potential.

Finally, a safety inspection by NRC has revealed a pinhole leak of about 2 to 3 drops per minute in the reactor’s cooling system. NRC has already indicated that this leak could grow into a crack if left unaddressed. However, neither NRC nor the Safety Advisory Panel answered questions about this leak at a recent public meeting. Please provide additional clarity on the status of this leak and actions NRC is requiring at Oyster Creek to address any potential safety concerns resulting from this leak.

The NRC has an obligation not only to ensure the safe operation of nuclear facilities like Oyster Creek, but also to inform affected communities about steps being taken to address safety concerns identified by the agency. I appreciate your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

###

Contact Info: 

Lautenberg Press Office 202-224-3224

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: July 30th

  With looming deadline on bail reform, Christie calls Legislature into special session TRENTON - Gov. Chris Christie is calling the legislature into special session Thursday to address recent bail reform legislation before a looming deadline next week, according to a letter from the governor’s office today. (Brush/PolitickerNJ)...

Op-Ed

The health of New Jersey's women is not Chris Christie's priority

By Linda Stender At his most recent town hall, Gov. Chris Christie accused his predecessors of "monkeying with the math" when it comes to their handling of our state's economy. But as the old saying goes, when the governor points a finger, he... Read More >

Contributors

(7-30-14) Who Is Best Equipped to Decide the Fate of the Common Core? - The latest Christie controversy surrounds his Executive Order to revamp the state’s academic... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »
The Perry-Paul Debate is Healthy for the GOP – and for America  The foreign policy debate in the media between prospective GOP Presidential candidates Texas Governor Rick Perry and... more »
(Washington DC)-- Two recent votes on Capitol Hill suggest an overdue and radical departure from our nation's Draconian and costly War on Drugs.  It's a long-overdue discussion (and not just... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, a Hudson County Democrat, is balking. He claimed Tuesday that members of his caucus are divided over the measure and that his house is in no real rush – besides, even if enacted this year, the reforms would not take effect until 2017, he said. And with the growing belief that Christie could skip town to run for president, some Democrats are not eager to give him another talking point for his résumé. Christie’s plans to stump for Republican candidates in New Hampshire later Thursday only fuel that suspicion." - columnist Charles Stile

- The Bergen Record

Poll

Who's right on the bail reform special session?:

Blogroll

Visit the PolitickerNJ.com/resources page for links to the best collection of information on New Jersey state government.

 

  • Polls
  • The best blogs
  • Columnists
  • State election results
  • Assembly election results
  • Local party websites
  • And more.

PolitickerNJ.com/resources