A group that's against the continued operation of the nation's oldest nuclear power plant wins an audience with federal nuclear regulators next month.

ExelonCorp.com

A representative with New Jersey-based Grandmothers Mother's and More for Energy Safety (GRAMMES) will be able offer comments related to their petition for extensive additional testing of equipment at the Ocean County-based Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station.

N.R.C. Spokeswoman Diane Screnci says, "This is an opportunity for the petitioner to provide further details to the NRC and the NRC staff is in the listening mode."

Screnci says the group will be going before the petition review board in Rockville, Maryland on January 3rd.

In November, the N.R.C rejected GRAMMES effort to delay the restarting of the Lacey Township plant during a planned outage period. Screnci says they determined that they didn't have a regulatory reason for keeping the plant shut down.

However, she adds, "That while we did not believe we needed to keep the plant shut down to review those actions, the staff will look at and determine whether we need to have the company do those other things."

In an earlier Townsquare Media News report, the power plant had been taken off-line for refueling maintenance just before Superstorm Sandy came through, that created a surge that elevated water levels in the reactor's intake chamber more than six feet above the mean sea level. It prompted an alert that the N.R.C. labeled an "unusual event." At the same time, the plant lost its own electrical input and and a backup generator failed. The power problems also knocked out most of the 43 sirens in a 10-mile radius of the plant.

Oyster Creek is scheduled to cease operations in 2019 as part of the Governor's 10-point plant aimed at protecting the Barnegat Bay.