LACEY TOWNSHIP — Operators at the nation’s oldest nuclear plant have terminated an “unusual event” status that was briefly declared after staffers detected an odor of chlorine at the plant’s intake structure.

The declaration at the Oyster Creek plant in Lacey Township was made at 10:34 a.m. Wednesday.

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Plant officials say the odor was emanating from piping that provides service water to plant systems. The leak was isolated and the odor dissipated, and officials say it posed no threat to plant workers, the environment or the public.

The “unusual event” declaration — which is the lowest of four levels of emergency classification — was terminated at 11:40 a.m. Normal plant operations continued while the declaration was in effect.

Oyster Creek is located about 60 miles east of Philadelphia. It generates enough electricity to power 600,000 homes, or roughly all the homes in Monmouth and Ocean counties combined.

Oyster Creek is due to shut down by the end of 2019 instead of 2029 as called for in its current license. The plant agreed to the early shutdown in return for not being required to build costly cooling towers that would minimize the impact on fish and other marine life in the creek.

Oyster Creek went online Dec. 1, 1969, the same day as the Nine Mile Point Nuclear Generating Station near Oswego, N.Y. But Oyster Creek’s original license was granted first, making it the oldest of the nation’s 104 commercial nuclear reactors that are still operating.

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Five years as Ocean County bureau chief, 12 years as regional news editor (not continuous), 10 years as copy editor (also not continuous), all at The Press of Atlantic City.

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