I am opposed to PSEG building a new nuclear plant at their Artificial Island
site in Salem County. After all, we’re talking about PSEG, the company whose
CEO was quoted as saying that “mediocrity is acceptable. This is PSEG, the
company who we at UNPLUG Salem called “The Gang That Couldn’t Nuke
Straight”. This is PSEG, which ran Salem Units 1 and 2 so badly in the past
that they had to be shut down for years for repair. This is PSEG, which, thanks
to a courageous whistleblower, was investigated by, and placed on extra
oversight by, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) due to a poor safety
culture. Things were so bad at PSEG that they had to import staff from Exelon to
help make things safer, at least in the short run, at Salem/Hope Creek.
This is PSEG, which refuses to build closed cooling systems at Salem 1 and 2,
thus killing billions of fish and other marine life every year. This is PSEG,
which thinks that offering 100 million dollars in solar power loans will win
them support from environmental groups. This is PSEG, which leaked radioactive
tritium into the ground water in Lower Alloways Creek Township. This is PSEG,
which gambled with our safety by running the Hope Creek Nuclear Plant with a
defective recirculating pump. This is PSEG, which can’t figure out how to stop
marsh grass from clogging the water intakes at Salem.
PSEG would have had a better chance to win acceptance for their new nukes trial
balloon if they had said that they would shut down their old, unsafe nuclear
plants, and replace them with new ones. Instead, PSEG plans to ask for a 20 year
extension from the NRC for Salem/Hope Creek, which means that these three aging
plants will be 60 years old before they shut down for good. Hopefully they will
be shut down long before that.
In addition, PSEG used up the site of the proposed Hope Creek 2 nuclear plant by
putting their dry cask nuclear waste storage there. Building a new nuclear plant
would require destroying acres of wetlands, which in itself should be reason
enough to shoot down PSEG’s new nuke trial balloon.
We don’t need a new nuke in New Jersey. We don’t need a new terrorist
target. We don’t need more nuclear waste stored on site. We don’t need more
low-level radiation spewed into the air and water. We don’t need anything that
might be contributing to cancer deaths in southern New Jersey.
What we need is for New Jersey to support building wind turbines all along our
coast and in our estuaries, including along the Delaware Bay, which would
produce more energy than a new nuclear plant. The wind power could be used to
power up hydrogen fuel cells, which would then be used to begin to decentralize
our power grid. Decentralizing the grid would reduce the need for base
generation, like nukes and coal burners.
In addition, what we need in New Jersey is solar power on every qualified roof,
staring with every government-owned roof in New Jersey. We need a requirement
that every new “McMansion” be built so that it becomes a net producer of
electricity, not an energy hog.
need grants and low percentage loans so that lower and middle class homeowners
can afford to add solar power to their homes.
In short, what we need in New Jersey is new thinking about generating
electricity, not new nuclear plants.
(Norm Cohen is Coordinator of the UNPLUG Salem Campaign, which watchdogs PSEG’s three nuclear power plants.)