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It’s been a crisis month for Exelon since federal regulators jumped the gun and relicensed the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in Lacey until 2029. Failure of a main transformer led to the shutdown of the reactor earlier this week. That followed the recent discovery of high levels of radioactive tritium contamination at the site.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff have tracked the tritium leak to two burst pipes from the reactor. Concentrations of radioactive tritium are up to 300 times the allowable levels in four test wells at the site. This raises alarm about the plant’s aging management program, which was the basis of the relicensing that is supposed to prevent this sort of dangerous mishap.Despite assurances from Oyster Creek spokespeople that tritium has not traveled off company grounds, it has entered the water table. Water flows, and at Oyster Creek it will eventually empty into Barnegat Bay, where the state this week announced a huge reseeding program of the oyster beds.