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N.J. Sierra Club: Salem 2 Nuclear Plant Shut Down: 4th Time in a Month

cooling tower and cooling water discharge of P...cooling tower and cooling water discharge of Philippsburg nuclear power plant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 press release


For the fourth time in a month, the Salem 2 Nuclear Plant has been shut down. Officials cite an electrical fault with the plant’s main generator as the reason. The plant was previously shut down on June 28, July 3 and July 11. There are two other reactors operated by PSEG at the Artificial Island complex. Salem 1 is currently shut down as they replace damaged bolts in the reactor core. The third reactor Hope Creek is working normally.



“This being the fourth time that the Salem 2 reactor has been closed within a month is concerning. Nuclear plants present safety issues to the communities as well as the environment. PSEG has applied to build a fourth plant on Artificial Island. If they can’t handle the three they have, they shouldn’t be building another one. Electric power plants without cooling towers such as these are one of the largest sources of toxic water pollution in the country. They dump toxic metals like arsenic, boron, cadmium, mercury, and selenium into the water. The failure of these plants to have cooling towers also lead to super-heated water dumped into the area and millions of endangered fish killed every year. These plants are dangerous to the environment and safety of communities and need to be regulated better,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. 


The plant’s current once through cooling system creates a major safety problem, kills 3 billion fish and aquatic life a year, and pollutes the Delaware River with superheated water. The cooling system not only harms fish and other wildlife but it is a threat to the public as well. Four years ago Salem 2 had to go offline because a pump failed. The facility often runs at reduced capacity as a result of water intakes being clogged by grasses. Three years ago the Salem 1 Nuclear reactor was shut down three times in two weeks because of vegetation such as marsh grass from the Delaware River clogging the cooling tower water intakes. Two years ago Salem plant 1 was shut down due to a radioactive leak. With a closed loop you lose less radioactive water when there is a leak and you can detect the leak faster. There are clearly numerous problems with the current cooling system and the new permits should require it to be updated.


"The plant operated under expired permits for ten years. We are concerned with the amount of times the plant has been shut down over the years, the lack of inspections of the reactors, and the safety issues that go along with nuclear plants without cooling towers," said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.