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First Domino Falls on Cooling Water Regulations - Early Retirement of Oyster Creek Nuclear Plant an Urgent Warning

Upton: "We should be working to bring more power online, rather than shutting down plants."

Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI), incoming Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today expressed concern with the announcement that the Oyster Creek Generating Station in New Jersey will be retired in 2019, ten years ahead of schedule, due to hundreds of millions of dollars in costs to comply with cooling water regulations.  Last week, Upton called on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson for greater transparency as the agency considers action on cooling water intake structures at existing electric generation and manufacturing facilities.  As in the case of Oyster Creek, the costs of compliance would force many plants to shutter, contributing to significantly higher energy prices and tens of thousands of lost jobs.

"The early retirement of the Oyster Creek Generating Station should serve as a wake-up call that rampant regulations are shutting down power plants and costing jobs," said Upton.  "Oyster Creek is a foreboding sign of what awaits the nuclear power industry if federal and state regulators continue to promulgate rules and regulations with no cost-benefit analysis.  We cannot allow bureaucrats to regulate the nuclear energy sector out of business - nuclear is a reliable, inexpensive and emissions-free source of power.  It is the citizens of New Jersey who will pay the price, as Oyster Creek powers 600,000 homes and employs 700 folks.  At a time when we are woefully unprepared to meet our nation's growing energy demands, we should be working to bring more power online, rather than shutting down plants."

In a December 3rd letter to EPA Administrator Jackson, Upton wrote, “Given that this rulemaking has the potential to affect more than 400 power plants throughout the country and could impact energy supply and reliability, I am concerned about the direction of the proposal and its timing. The potential retrofit costs could be substantial ($200-300 million per unit for coal and $700 million to $1 billion for nuclear power plants) and some coal steam generators may not have the space necessary for the installation of cooling towers and other associated equipment.  This could result in the retirement of some of these generators.”

Upton's December 3rd letter to Administrator Jackson can be found HERE.

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