Oyster Creek safety panel appointment disappoints environmentalists

    New Jersey environmentalists are not happy with the state’s latest appointment to the Oyster Creek safety advisory panel. That group will oversee concerns related to the aging nuclear power plant in Ocean County.

    New Jersey’s Department for Environmental Protection appointed Dr. Adam Cohen of the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab as the third and final member of the safety panel. It’s a choice that has environmentalists concerned.

    David Pringle with the New Jersey Environmental Federation says says Dr. Cohen has many impressive credentials, but not the right ones for the job. “He doesn’t have the expertise in the type of reactor at Oyster Creek he doesn’t have the technical or the practical experience necessary,” said Pringle.

    Pringle says since the other two panel members are government officials, the third is the most crucial one, and needs a solid background in nuclear safety.

    Lawrence Hajna with the DEP says Dr. Cohen is perfectly qualified for the job. “Throughout his long career he has worked on all facets of nuclear power, from construction to safety and operations, and very important to the mission to the Oyster Creek advisory panel, on decommissioning,” said Hajna.

    Oyster Creek is scheduled for shut down permanently in 2019. Both sides say they are committed to continuing conversations around safety for the plant.

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