McKEON WELCOMES DEPEXELON ANNOUNCEMENT OF OPERATIONS TO CLEAN-UP RADIOACTIVE POLLUTION FROM OYSTER CREEK PLANT
Assembly Environment Chair Says Long-Due Initiative Will Help Turn the Tide on Degradation of Barnegat Bay, Prevent Contamination of Potable Water Supply for more than One Million N.J. Residents
(TRENTON) Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee Chairman John F. McKeon welcomed Monday’s announcement by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Exelon Generation Corp. of the start of clean-up operations to pump out radioactive pollution that leaked last year from the Oyster Creek nuclear plant into the Barnegat Bay estuary.
180,000 gallons of radioactive tritium tainted water were accidentally released into the Cape May and upper Cohansey aquifers of the Bay from holes in underground pipes at the Lacey Township nuclear facility. Tritium has been linked to some forms of cancer. It is a by-product of nuclear reactions.
McKeon (D-Essex) issued the following statement:
“I am encouraged that Exelon will begin to pump out pollution from the Oyster Creek nuclear plant that leaked into the Barnegat Bay estuary last year.
“I would like to see the implementation of the clean-up operation conducted expeditiously and with care and caution.
“Even though the pollution has not reached potable water supplies, it is imperative that this never happen.
“The aquifers that could be affected, supply drinking water to more than one million South Jersey residents. It is imperative we protect this source.
“I commend the DEP for its leadership and initiative in this regard.”
The Exelon Corp. has reportedly agreed to start pumping efforts this week on two monitoring wells in the Cape May and upper Cohansey aquifers, and has also agreed to expand that effort to a third contaminated location by early October.
Since the leaks were discovered in April 2009. Exelon contends it has spent $6 million dealing with repairs and the tritium-tainted plume and that the pollution has not yet reached potable wells.
In May, the DEP announced the launch of a State investigation into the 2009 leak of radioactive tritium into the aquifers below Oyster Creek, which is located in Ocean County. Toward that goal, the agency issued a Spill Act directive to Exelon, requiring the plant owner to cooperate with its investigation and take action to prevent the radioactive substance from ever reaching the region’s potable water supplies.
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