Nuclear plant aerial

Aerial photo of Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in Lacey Township, Tuesday Mar. 2, 2010. Parkway southbound flows to the upper right corner.

TOMS RIVER  — The state Department of Environmental Protection is holding a public hearing on its Radiological Emergency Response Plan tonight.

Most attendees are expected to discuss plans regarding the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in Lacey Township.

It will take place at 6 p.m. at the Ocean County Administrative Building at 101 Hooper Avenue in Room 119, said DEP spokesman Larry Hajna.

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Representatives of the Bureau of Nuclear Engineering, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Health, and the Office of Emergency Management, Division of State Police will attend and take questions and comments from the public.

Oyster Creek, the oldest operating nuclear power plant in the nation, is scheduled to close in 2019.

The plan lays out steps to be taken should an accident or other incident occur that releases dangerous amounts of radiation. It includes an evacuation plan.

Environmentalists are expected to ask for a larger range of evacuation should an accident or other incident occur.

"For years now we have been advocating for the DEP to expand the impact radius for at least 50 miles, but they have failed to listen. We need real action to close this dinosaur power plant because it threatens the entire region,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, in a written statement Tuesday.

A 50-mile radius would include Atlantic City, Tittel said.

Tittel called the evacuation plan in place now unrealistic.

"The entire population in this area doubles in the summer and there are about 100,000 people in Long Beach Island alone. With beach traffic, it is difficult to get from place to place now, but if there was a huge evacuation we would be sitting in traffic for hours. This is not only a risk to public safety, but will be a nightmare," Tittel said. 

A similar meeting was held in Bridgeton on July 13 and another will be held 6 p.m. tomorrow night at the Salem County Office of Emergency Management, 135 Cemetery Road, Emergency News Center, Second Floor, Woodstown.

Salem and Cumberland counties are near SEG Nuclear's Hope Creek and Salem plants, which contain a total of three current reactors.

Copies of the New Jersey Radiological Emergency Response Plan are available for inspection at the following locations:

Office of Emergency Management, State Police Headquarters, West Trenton; Salem County Emergency Management Office; the Cumberland County Office of Emergency Management, Bridgeton Avenue, Bridgeton; and the Ocean County Office of Emergency Management, Robert J. Miller Air Park, Route 530, Berkeley Township.

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