Governor Christie says the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Ocean County, New Jersey, may be shut down a bit sooner than scheduled.
The governor says the plant’s owner is indicating it might not take until the end of 2019 to close the oldest operating nuclear plant in the nation.
“I can tell you from recent conversations with the executives at Exelon, that plan is not only on track and on time but a little bit ahead of schedule. And we’re working to get as much of that done and completed before we leave office in January.”
About 9 percent of the electricity in New Jersey is generated by the Oyster Creek plant. Christie believes utilities will be able to make up for that when it closes.
“That’s why our Energy Master Plan has focused on the increase in building natural gas plants. That’s why the DEP and other have worked so hard to make sure that the pipelines to bring natural gas here from Pennsylvania.”
Christie says whatever negative impact the shutdown might have on the economy of nearby communities would be more than offset by the positive effect closing it will have on the environment and the tourism industry.
The owner of the Oyster Creek plant released a statement clarifying the company's intent.
"Exelon Generation is committed to generating clean and reliable energy at Oyster Creek Generating Station until the plant is retired, as planned, in December of 2019. While we are ahead of schedule with decommissioning planning for Oyster Creek, we committed to operate the plant until December, 2019 and we will fulfill those commitments. We continue to work closely with state and local stakeholders to finalize the overall decommissioning plan."