The Salem Nuclear Power Plant is a two unit pressurized water reactor nuclear power station located in Lower Alloways Creek Township, New Jersey in the United States. It is owned by PSEG Nuclear LLC and Exelon Generation LLC.

Salem Nuclear Power Plant is two of four nuclear power units in New Jersey. The others are the two at the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station, and the Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Station. As of January 1, 2005, New Jersey ranked 10th among the 31 states with nuclear capacity for total MWe generated. In 2003, nuclear electricity generated over one half of the electricity in the State.

Salem Nuclear Power Plant Reactors

The reactors, both PWRs, were built by Westinghouse, and began commercial operation in 1977 (Unit 1) and 1981 (Unit 2). The two-unit plant has a capacity of 2,275 MWe. Unit 1 is licensed to operate until August 13, 2016 and Unit 2 is licensed to operate until April 18, 2020. PSEG has applied for 20-year license renewals for both units.

Safety issues

The New York Times has reported that, in the 1990s, the Salem reactors were shut down for two years because of maintenance problems. Consultants found several difficulties, including a leaky generator, unreliable controls on a reactor, and workers who feared that reporting problems would lead to retaliation. In 2004, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission took on additional oversight of the Salem plants and increased the monitoring of them.

An extensive investigation by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the subsequent review by hired consultants have found many minor problems, such as lack of routine maintenance and low morale among personnel, but declared the plant safe.

Water use

Both reactors use Delaware Bay as a source of cooling water. Salem units 1 and 2 have a water-intake building with a rotating screen to collect debris that is later washed off. Sometimes thick layers of grass clog the intakes and the reactors run at reduced power for weeks as a result. All of the waste heat produced in the steam cycle (about 2 gigawatts) is dumped into the bay. The resultant increase in water temperature is regulated to less than 1C in summer months, and to 2C the rest of the year.

Salem Nuclear Power Plant
Country United States
Locale Lower Alloways Creek
Status Operational
Commission date Unit 1: June 30, 1977
Unit 2: October 31, 1981
Licence expiration Unit 1: August 13, 2016
Unit 2: April 18, 2020
Owner(s) Exelon (43%)
PSE&G (57%)

Reactor information
Reactor type(s) PWR
Reactor supplier(s) Westinghouse

Power station information
Generation units 2 - GE 25kV

Power generation information
Installed capacity Unit 1: 1,174 MW
Unit 2: 1,130
Annual generation Unit 1: 9,158 GW·h
Unit 2: 9,669