ALLOWAY NJ (January 31, 2019)A reactor at the Salem nuclear plant was shut down last night because freezing temperatures caused ice to accumulate on screens that filter the water that goes into the plant. The Salem Nuclear Power Plant is a two unit pressurized water reactor nuclear power plant located in Lower Alloways Creek Township, in Salem County, New Jersey, in the United States. It is owned by PSEG Nuclear LLC and Exelon Generation LLC who received the biggest subsidy in state history for their nuclear plants at $300 million a year.
“The Salem plant is supposed to be open during a polar vortex but had to go offline because of ice. When we need them the most, they prove to be unreliable. PSEG asked for $300 million a year in subsidies but on one of the coldest days of the year, they couldn’t provide heat to homes. PSEG’s and Exelon’s Salem plant had to go offline which allowed for ice to clog their intakes. The reason why Salem 1 and 2 had to go off line is because they do not have cooling towers. This is why we have said over and over the importance of cooling towers for these plants,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.
Two of the plants getting subsidies, Salem 1 and 2, operate without cooling towers. This has raised environmental concerns, especially for fish and vegetation.
“Currently Salem 1 and 2 power plants operate without cooling towers, killing 17 billion fish each year and have caused major algae blooms. They also have to close the plant at certain times because there is too much vegetation in the water. Failure to have cooling towers is why a reactor at the Salem plant had to go offline. This is why we have said all along that nuclear plants need cooling towers,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “This is the height of hypocrisy. New Jersey ratepayers are not only being robbed millions of dollars a year to keep these nuclear plants to stay afloat, but robbed of being able to keep warm during one of the coldest days of the year.”