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The Facts on Oyster Creek and New Jersey Electricity

The Asbury Park Press is calling on New Jersey Governor John Corzine to publicly declare his position on relicensing the Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant. What really seems to be getting the paper's goat these days is that the Governor is actually taking his time to learn all he can about the facts involved:
Five months ago, Gov. Corzine told the Press editorial board that the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Lacey should not be relicensed for 20 years under any circumstances because of safety concerns. Last month, he and four other top state officials toured the plant. A Corzine spokesman said the governor was impressed by its security and personnel.

Asked by a Press reporter whether Corzine's visit changed his opinion on license renewal, the spokesman responded: "Right now he is conferring with his Cabinet team to keep apprised of Oyster Creek's renewal status at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and state action within that framework." Huh? Is that a yes or a no? The public deserves a direct answer.

We hope the governor isn't waffling on his opposition to keeping the plant open. We hope he is merely gathering more information for a court fight if and when the NRC approves relicensing — something that could happen by May if Oyster Creek passes the agency's environmental and safety reviews.
Over at We Support Lee, Ruth Sponsler has been crunching the numbers, and has come up with some figures that the folks at the Asbury Park Press neglected to include in their editorial:
Let's look at Oyster Creek by itself, compared with renewable sources. Could renewables replace Oyster Creek if Oyster Creek weren't relicensed?

To get Oyster Creek's 2002 generation figure, I went to a spreadsheet linked here. That 2002 figure is 5,031,271 megawatt-hours. I divided that by New Jersey's 1,330,000 renewable megawatt-hours for 2002 and got 3.78. Thus, during 2002, in New Jersey, Oyster Creek, alone, generated 3.78 times the amount of electricity that all renewable sources in New Jersey generated during that same year. If Oyster Creek were to be shut down, the renewable generating capacity to replace it is just not there. Oyster Creek's capacity would need to be replaced by fossil fuels - likely coal or natural gas.


The anti-nuclear special interest groups usually say that they're against fossil fuels, but the arithmetic of energy and their actions against nuclear energy speak louder than their words.

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Robert Schwartz said…
Anti-nukes think that pols who do not duckspeak anti-nuke talking points are doubleplus ungood.
Anonymous said…
So the Governor has concerns about safety at Oyster Creek. Fair enough, he's one of the guys who would be left holding the bag if those concerns came to a head.

But how can he establish whether those concerns are real and current? The paper seems to feel that visiting the plant and talking to the operating company should not form part of this process - or indeed that the process of investigating and evaluating the concerns shouldn't take place at all.

In their world, it seems that to express any kind of concern is a permanent barrier in the way of any progress. I wonder if they use moveable type? I hear it's pretty risky technology...

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