Oyster Creek nuclear plant will continue to use water from the Forked River to cool its reactor.

The Lacey Township based power plant received  a renewal of the New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NJPDES) from the Department of Environmental Protection. The permit was part of an agreement between the state and Exelon Corporation, the parent company of Oyster Creek, to have the plant shut down ten years before their NRC license expires in return for not having to build cooling towers.

Susan D’Ambrosio, spokesperson for Oyster Creek, says in essence the permit makes the plan the plant has been operating under official. Saying “it dot’s the ‘I’ and crosses the ‘t’s’ for us. “

The permit has its detractors, namely Jeff Tittel who is the New Jersey  Director of the Sierra Club. His concern is that the permit further gives Oyster Creek carte blanche to harm the watershed.

“The concern is that this permit lets Exelon off the hook , they don’t have to do any new mitigation to limit the impacts of the bay.” Tittel calls out the power plant as the biggest threat of thermo pollution to the water.

“Every day millions of gallons of superheated water hit the bay affecting water quality. It causes algae and bacteria to grow which robs oxygen out of the bay creating dead zones. It kills millions of fish brine shrimp, and larvae get killed.”

D’Ambrosio says that the plants efforts of mitigation will certainly continue during the nine year period before its closure.

“We’re committed to operating as always operating Oyster Creek with complete respect for the environment, using all of the environmental systems and components we have used in the past. “ Adding that the plant will continue following restrictions as to the temperature’s that they charge, and will follow the mitigation steps for the remaining time.

Tittel believes if steps aren’t done now to curtail the damage being done to the bay, the 2019 close date could prove for naught.

“There’s a real concern that at the rate we’re going with all of the other problems that the bay has from runoff and development and then when you throw into that the superheated water, will the bay survive the next five years.” Furthermore, he continues having doubts that the consent order between Exelon and the state will be upheld. “we don’t know in nine years if they’ll actually close or not.”

When asked about it, D’Ambrosio says the closure at the pre determined time is “pretty much final.”