"Exelon has been informed that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has issued a draft environmental permit requiring that cooling towers be built at Oyster Creek Generating Station after an extended study period that could take as many as eight years to complete.
"On several occasions, the NJ DEP considered and rejected this kind of closed cycle cooling at Oyster Creek plant, reasoning, among other things, that cooling towers are not cost effective at Oyster Creek. Indeed, Exelon will have no alternative but to close Oyster Creek if it is ultimately required to construct cooling towers.
"This draft permit is only one step in the permitting process. We are confident that science and common sense will prevail and that the final permit issued by DEP will not require the installation of cooling towers. Exelon will continue to provide data to the DEP and is committed to working with all stakeholders to find solutions that make sense for the many issues that confront the Bay.
"Oyster Creek is vital to New Jersey's electrical system. The plant provides inexpensive base-load electricity critical to New Jersey's economy. The plant's closure would cost New Jersey consumers $190 million annually in added electricity costs and would cost more than 700 hard working people their jobs. An additional 1,000 New Jersey jobs supported by expenditures tied to the operation of Oyster Creek also would be eliminated causing further economic challenges for the state.
"Oyster Creek is not the only business affected by this action. The DEP's broad and erroneous conclusions regarding closed-cycle cooling can be applied with equal force to nearly all New Jersey power plants and many other industries within the state.
"The Administration had four years to consider this draft permit yet took no action until barely a week before the inauguration of its successor. At a time when everyone from national policy leaders to founding members of Greenpeace and the American environmental movement recognize the vital importance of emissions-free energy from the nation's nuclear plants, this decision in the waning days of the Corzine administration is curious."