The Jersey Shore region can expect to hear new sirens within a 10-mile radius of Oyster Creek Generating Station by June, Exelon Generation said in a news release.
Exelon Generation, the owner and operator of Oyster Creek, is investing $2 million to upgrade its 42 emergency sirens surrounding the nuclear power plant.
“These sirens are an important part of our emergency plan,” said Garey Stathes, Oyster Creek Site Vice President. “While we are confident in our current siren system the replacement system provides additional features such as battery backup and the best available technology.”
The new sirens will have battery back-up technology and will be installed by June.
Environmental and anti-nuclear advocates have expressed concerns over the sirens since before Hurricane Sandy. During Sandy, 33 of the 42 sirens were inoperable.
The warning sirens are one of several methods used by county emergency management to warn residents of fires, floods and other weather-related emergencies.
When sirens are out of service, “route alerting” is utilized. Meaning, emergency responders would drive the affected streets and use loudspeakers to notify residents of a significant event at the plant.
The sirens are not a signal to evacuate but to tune to the local emergency alert station.
The project is being completed by ANS Services. Contractors working on the project are required to display a company photo ID.
In the meantime, the existing sirens will not be removed until the Federal Emergency Management Agency certified the new units.
The upgrade is part of an $11 million project that began in 2010 and involves replacing all 400 sirens surrounding Exelon’s Mid-Atlantic nuclear facilities.
Oyster Creek is the oldest nuclear plant in the United States, beginning commercial operations on Dec. 23, 1969. The plant employs nearly 700 workers and provides enough electricity for 600,000 New Jersey homes.