NEWARK, NJ (AP / WCBS 880) – U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez wants assurances from federal regulators that New Jersey‘s four nuclear reactors are safe.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney hears from Gov. Chris Christie

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Menendez wrote Wednesday to the chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission asking if there are safeguards in place to prevent the type of crisis unfolding in Japan from happening in New Jersey.

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He noted that two of New Jersey’s four plants have the same design and containment systems as those damaged by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

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The senator also asked if plants using this type of containment system can be operated safely without modifications.

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The natural disasters knocked out backup power and cooling systems for the Japanese plants, and radiation has been released into the atmosphere.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reports that Gov. Chris Christie has also expressed concern over nuclear material in the Garden State.

The Oyster Creek power plant is set to shut down in eight years.

What about storing that material when the plan closes? “I feel very strongly about the fact that maintaining that type of nuclear material in a shuttered plant for 60 years could be a danger to the safety and welfare of the people of New Jersey,” said Christie.

Christie has attached New Jersey to a lawsuit challenging the 60-year allowance for the storage of spent nuclear material, and he did that before the disaster in Japan.

Christie says, “We believe strongly in this protection of our environment. 30 years is more than enough for the federal government to figure out what they need to do with this stuff.”

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