N.J. DEP forms task force to review nuclear plant emergency plans

In the aftermath of the nuclear power plant emergencies in Japan, the Department of Environmental Protection has formed a task force to review operations and emergency preparedness plans for the state’s four nuclear generating facilities.

The task force will begin its analysis of the power plants this week as they prepare to get a first-hand briefing on operations at each plant and to discuss current emergency response measures.

Exelon Corp. and PSEG own and operate the reactors.

A regularly scheduled nuclear emergency preparedness drill will be held in May at Salem Unit One. These drills are held quarterly, on a rotating basis at the four nuclear reactors.

“We want to ensure all proper safety protocols and preventative measures are in place to protect the residents of New Jersey from ever having to experience a nuclear emergency,” said Gov. Chris Christie in a release.

“There may be lessons to be learned from what is happening in Japan that could make our preparedness even better and make the state’s residents more secure.”

Led by DEP Commissioner Bob Martin, the Task Force includes State Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Director Charles B. McKenna, State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes, and State Board of Public Utilities President Lee Solomon. A written report will be submitted to the Governor once the review is completed.

The Task Force will explore emergency response protocols, technical reviews of plant operations, the chain of command and control at each nuclear facility, evacuation plans, and emergency communications to the public.

New Jersey has four nuclear reactors: Oyster Creek in Lacey Township, Hope Creek in Lower Alloways Creek Township, and the Salem Units One and Two reactors, also in Lower Alloways Creek Township.

N.J. DEP forms task force to review nuclear plant emergency plans