Forked River, N.J. - Operators at Oyster Creek Generating Station manually took the station's generator off line at about 5 p.m. tonight.
Operators began a controlled shut-down of the reactor at 8 a.m. today due to the expected hurricane force winds from Hurricane Irene.
By procedure, Oyster Creek is required to shut down if sustained winds reach a certain level during a hurricane. For this reason operators proactively, deliberately and slowly began the shutdown in anticipation of the storm's arrival to ensure the plant was in a safe condition.
"Although we cannot predict with certainty whether we will see those wind speeds on the plant site, based on current weather projections and because of Oyster Creek's proximity to Barnegat Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, it is prudent to safely shut down the plant in advance," said Site Vice President Michael Massaro.
Also as a precautionary measure in advance of the storm, a team of highly trained and qualified personnel are stationed at the plant throughout the weekend to take actions beyond their usual duties to protect the plant, personnel and the public.
Oyster Creek is about 60 miles east of Philadelphia in Ocean County, New Jersey. The plant produces 636 net megawatts of electricity at full power, enough electricity to supply 600,000 typical homes, the equivalent to all homes in Monmouth and Ocean counties combined. In addition, plant workers, through their payrolls, are responsible for more $96 million injected directly into New Jersey's economy.