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Activists Seek Crackdown on Aging Nuclear Plants

Environmental activists want the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to stop allowing aging power plants to stay open — unless the agency beefs up safety inspections. They say the government should start at Oyster Creek in New Jersey — the oldest nuclear plant still in service.

The NRC has never denied an application to extend the initial 40-year license of a nuclear plant, which it has done more than 30 times. Critics say the NRC should start by rejecting the application of Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station, which shares the distinction of being the oldest operating nuclear plant in the country. They're also asking the NRC to hold off on re-licensing several other plants in New York and New England.

In a petition filed this month, watchdog groups say plant operators are allowed to essentially write their own safety evaluations — a claim that both the NRC and plant operators deny vigorously.

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Exelon, which runs Oyster Creek, insists that the plant is safe despite its age. The NRC could vote as soon as Tuesday to officially renew Oyster Creek's license for another 20 years.

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