The Radiation and Public Health Project highlighted this in 2001 when it found substantial increases in radioactive contamination of the local area (Gould and Sternglass). Further study indicated a marked increase in a wide variety of cancers especially in children and elderly people. This compares to a decrease in like cancers in the vicinity of eight similar reactors which have been closed since 1987 (Gould and Sternglass).
Along with an immediate threat to public health are the problems associated with the disposal of the spent nuclear material. Currently the four nuclear power sites in New Jersey are storing over 1600 tons of radioactive waste (Radington and Rusch). With aging facilities, dwindling financial resources, and diverted political priorities there is no clear plan that the public will be adequately safeguarded from future disaster. This material is a constant threat to the area from accidental leakage, mismanagement, or even a terrorist act.
The jeopardy that the reactor poses is not just limited to the local area. Neighboring residents are also at risk. The mayor of Brick Township, New Jersey, has filed a petition with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission requesting the Oyster Creek site be allowed to remain open only if it met the current standards of a new reactor.