- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 8, 2014

LACEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) - The nation’s oldest operating nuclear plant has been taken offline temporarily so crews can replace a piece of equipment.

The Oyster Creek plant in Lacey Township was shut down at 8 p.m. Monday.

Plant officials say the step was taken to support inspections and the replacement of a piece of safety equipment that operates valves located inside the drywell. Because the equipment is inside the drywell, this inspection cannot be performed while the reactor is in operation.

Plant staffers will visually inspect the valves and replace components as necessary while the plant is shut down.

It’s not clear how long it will take to complete the work and the inspections.

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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