There has been a lot of good coverage recently about the Oyster Creek nuclear reactor. But one critical point of discussion is missing - the impact of closing the facility, which is now planned for 2019. It's not too early to demand answers from the reactor's owner, Exelon, and our state's environmental officials. What is going to happen to the site after the reactor is decommissioned? Will the facility just be closed and a radioactive reactor core be left on the site in perpetuity? If so, how will the toxic materials be protected against vandalism and terrorists? How will security be paid for in the decades to come?

If the facility is to be dismantled, and the site returned to a greenfield status, what is the plan to remove, transport, and store radioactive material, and what will be the funding source to do so? Decommissioning reactors and nuclear sites is very expensive. Will plans and budgets be reviewed by independent third parties to assess the risks in Exelon's plans? What safeguards are in place to ensure decommissioning and cleanup funds are available should Exelon file for bankruptcy? Will the taxpayer be left holding the bag for cleanup? New Jersey citizens should be involved in answering these questions.

Steve Stern

Mount Laurel