The site of the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in Lacey Township, N.J., could be the location for Holtec International’s SMR-160 small modular reactor, according to an AP News story published last week.
ARDP investment: Holtec received $147.5 million in Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program funding to demonstrate its SMR design. Company spokesperson Joe Delmar said, “As part of our application to the Department of Energy for its advanced reactor demonstration program, we expressed interest in possibly locating an SMR-160 small modular reactor at the Oyster Creek decommissioning site in the future. This concept is only preliminary and something we would likely discuss with Lacey Township and the community if plans to locate (the reactor) at Oyster Creek evolve.”
Using a site that has the infrastructure in place to develop new nuclear technology and that is already owned by Holtec seems like a situation where everybody wins. If the SMR-160 demonstration were successful, it would keep well-paying jobs in Lacey Township and allow for the continued production of carbon-free power. The SMR would power about 160,000 homes, compared to the 600,000 that were powered by the 625-MWe boiling water reactor at the site. The Oyster Creek BWR was closed permanently in September 2018.
Anti-nukes have their say: The New Jersey Sierra Club was quoted in the AP article as saying that the proposal is “a threat to health and safety.” The SMR-160 design, however, is “walk-away safe,” according to Holtec, and it can be quickly shut down in an emergency. The SMR uses passive safety systems and all key components, including cooling water, are sealed within containment facilities, Holtec said.