A federal appeals court on Wednesday declined to review the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's license renewal of Exelon Corp.'s Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Ocean County, New Jersey.

The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said the NRC did not abuse its discretion when it  rejected a challenge of the license renewal by a coalition of environmental groups.

"We are confident that the NRC's review of Exelon's application was well-reasoned, and we will not second-guess technical decisions within the realm of its unique expertise," the court said.

The NRC granted a 20-year license extension, although Exelon later agreed with New Jersey officials to shut down the Lacey Township plant in 2019, which is 10 years ahead of schedule.

In a footnote, the court found that the recent Japanese reactor disaster, on which the NRC filed a supplemental brief, does not provide a basis for reviewing the Oyster Creek license extension.

The Oyster Creek reactor, which is similar to the Fukishima Dai-ichi plants that were damaged by a tsunami in March, is America's oldest commercial nuclear plant.

Contact staff writer Andrew Maykuth at 215-854-2947 or amaykuth@phillynews.com.