The nation's oldest nuclear power plant, sitting in Ocean County, forms the basis of a special open house tomorrow night in Stafford Township.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will conduct the session regarding the agency's annual assessment of safety performance for the Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant in Lacey Township. Members of the public will have an opportunity to learn first-hand from NRC representatives and inspectors about the plant's safety performance during 2011 and the NRC's oversight of the facility. The meeting format will allow citizens to discuss plant-related topics on a one-on-one basis with supervisors.

NRC Spokesman Neil Sheehan explains a lot of attention has been given to the plant and they continue to monitor Oyster Creek and all other U.S. plants on a constant basis. Sheehan says "we have a really good relationship with plant owner Exelon, who have operated properly for many years."

Sheehan says "overall, Oyster Creek operated safely during 2011. At the conclusion of last year, as assessed by the NRC's Reactor Oversight Process, there were no performance indicators for the plant that were other than "Green" (very low safety significance) and no inspection findings that were "Greater than Green." Therefore, for the rest of 2012 Oyster Creek will receive the very detailed inspection regime used by the NRC for plants that are operating well. In 2011, the NRC devoted approximately 5,200 hours of inspection to the Oyster Creek facility.

Congressman Chris Smith and U.S. Senator Robert Menendez wrote a letter to the head of the NRC urging them to add a public comment portion to the session. Sheehan says while that request was received, they feel because of the safety report "we don't need that extra layer of scrutiny. The public can get answers to their questions one-on-one at the meeting."

The open house is scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, March 28th from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Holiday Inn on Route 72 West in Manahawkin.

The plant is scheduled to close in 2019.

You can access a copy of the safety report online.