Located in New Jersey, Hope Creek is one among the 4 nuclear plants in the state. As a matter of fact, 50% of the electricity supply of New Jersey comes from the nuclear power generated in these plants.
Hope Creek is run by PSEG Nuclear, which also owns it. It was built starting in 1974. Originally planned out as a plant with two nuclear Units, it ended up being a one-reactor plant; when economic and technical difficulties made the building of two reactors impossible in 1981. Hope Creek would finally start running commercially, as an electricity supplier, in 1986.
The plant´s nuclear reactor is of the boiling water type, and it has a 1,059 megawatts capacity. In this type of reactor, the nuclear power is used to boil water. The steam generated is then turned into electrical power.
The company, which supplies power for 65% of the New Jersey population, has a license to operate Hope Creek until 2026. Though Exelon attempted to buy PSEG in 2005, the deal didn´t take, and Hope Creek remained in the hands of PSEG.
Occupational Hazards: ASBESTOS EXPOSURE
Hope Creek was not the exception to the majority of nuclear power plants and power stations built in America during the XXth century; large amounts of asbestos was used for insulation purposes in its facilities. Because asbestos resists high temperatures and fire, it was thought to be the ideal insulator for pipes, boilers, and all of the items involved in high temperature processes.
Unfortunately, asbestos pose a dramatic risk to human health. With latency periods of many decades, asbestos-related conditions have a high death rate. Workers employed at Hope Creek and other similar plants were exposed to the involuntary inhalation of dangerous asbestos fibers. When these stick to the lungs, people can develop lung cancer, mesothelioma (aka asbestos cancer) and asbestosis. All of these conditions can be fatal.
People who were employed at Hope Creek and other power plants should be very aware that they might be in danger, even if they haven´t developed any symptoms yet. If you have been affected by asbestos exposure, you may also be entitled to financial compensation.