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Nuclear plant owner withdraws bid for filing extension

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September 26, 2002, 3:40 AM EDT

LACEY, N.J. -- The owner of the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant has withdrawn its request for more time to submit an operating license renewal application.

The decision announced Wednesday means AmerGen Energy must notify the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of its plans for the Lacey facility by April 9, 2004. AmerGen could ask to have the license renewed for up to 20 years or it could decide to close the plant, which is the nation's oldest commercial nuclear plant.

If it makes the latter choice, AmerGen also must inform the NRC of its plans for shutting down the facility, which was built in the 1960s. AmerGen's license for Oyster Creek does not expire on April 9, 2009, but the NRC requires nuclear plants to file renewal applications at least five years before the expiration date.

"They at least have to give us some information about decommissioning, such as how much money is available for decommissioning and a rough idea of what the plans consist of," Neil Sheehan, an NRC spokesman, told the Asbury Park Press of Neptune for Thursday's editions.

Exelon Nuclear, the company that runs the plant for AmerGen, had announced earlier this year that it would seek a the extension on AmerGen's behalf. It said business uncertainties would prevent them from meeting the filing deadline, but the state's Bureau of Nuclear Engineering opposed the request, saying it was "subjective and weak."

Dave Simon, an Exelon spokesman, said the company has not decided whether it will recommend that the plant remain open.

Copyright 2002, The Associated Press


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