As part of a deal to shut down the 619 MW Oyster Creek nuclear power plant, New Jersey environmental officials granted a water discharge permit to the plant. The permit allows heated water to be released back into a creek and nearby bay.
The permit approval was a trade off the state made with plant owner Exelon Corp. (NYSE: EXC) to shut down the reactor 10 years earlier than originally planned, the Associated Press reported.
Oyster Creek is the nation’s oldest nuclear power plant and has been in service since 1969. It uses a General Electric Type 2 boiling water reactor.
Exelon decided in December 2010 to shut down the plant by the end of 2019 instead of following the state’s request to build costly cooling towers to ends the plant’s use of billions of gallons of creek water to cool the plant.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted Oyster Creek a new 20-year license in April 2009, rejecting criticism from a coalition of residents and environmental groups that the plant was too old and degraded to operate safely for another two decades.
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