Fueling South Jersey’s Economy

As a lifelong resident of Salem County, I’ve lived near PSEG’s nuclear plants my whole life. I was a young girl when the plants were built 40 years ago. I remember seeing the steady stream of trucks carrying workers and big pieces of equipment to the plant. It was exciting for me and my friends. It seemed like the biggest thing that had ever happened around here.

Today, I’m the executive director of the Salem County Chamber of Commerce and the plants are the heartbeat of the county’s economy. More than 400 businesses belong to the chamber, of which 80 percent are small companies. Many of those businesses wouldn’t exist without PSEG’s nuclear plants. The plants and their 1,600 employees are vital customers.

For many of those shops and businesses the busy season is a four-to-six week period in the spring and fall. During that time, PSEG brings 1,000 additional workers on site twice a year for maintenance and refueling outages. They help do the maintenance work that can’t be performed while the plant is running. This spring they are already here working again with the PSEG team to test, repair, upgrade and replace equipment so the plant can continue to safely produce the electricity New Jersey depends on for years to come. When you live close to a nuclear plant you pay attention to safety. And we in Salem County are well aware that nuclear power has the safest track record of any power source – regardless of the sensational headlines.

The work to keep the plants safe and dependable is a boon to our economy. Our normally quiet community buzzes with activity. Traffic picks up. Hotels are booked for weeks. Lawn signs pop up advertising rooms for rent.

Fueling South Jersey’s Economy“The nuclear plant outages have such a big impact on our business,” said Ollivia Willis, general manager of the Hampton Inn. “Workers come from all over the country to Salem County to support PSEG’s refueling outages.”

The local restaurants and sandwich shops are packed. The wait line is several people deep for orders at convenience stores, pizza places and coffee shops as workers grab their meals on the go.

The DiMarco family has owned the Italian Kitchen for more than 30 years and the outages have become a rite of spring.

“It’s our busy season and we get workers coming and going at the shift changes for both breakfast and dinner,” Gino DiMarco said. “It’s a lot of hungry mouths to feed so we love when it’s refueling outage season!”

It’s hard to imagine Salem County without PSEG’s nuclear plants. They are a vital part of our community. The plant and its employees are good neighbors that make many contributions to the area. Part of that is economic. The plants, the employees, and the thousands of contractors who support the outages are important to the health of the Salem business community. It’s one of the many reasons why New Jersey needs nuclear.

To learn more about the fate of New Jersey’s nuclear plants, please visit njneedsnuclear.com and sign up to stay informed.

Jennifer Jones

Jennifer Jones

Executive Director, Salem County Chamber of Commerce


  1. John F Hall

    You always do a great job helping the business of Salem County!

  2. Tanya Weaver

    Well written article Jennifer!!

  3. Andrew R. Tomko

    I transplanted here over 27 years ago. I am a witness to what the devastation from plant closings mean. Originally from the Pittsburgh area, I know what happens when your job is gone for good. I was laid-off and was told that it was temporary. The lay-off was permanent,
    the job was now temporary. As the old saying goes: “never bite the hand that feeds you”. Keep nuclear power alive and well in Salem county.

  4. Ed Olearczyk (Edward Francis James)

    When the plant opened I was at Seton Hall and made a presentation on the future of Nukes. That was early 70’s and we have not really had much growth since. We need more plants like this.

  5. Diane Jones

    Knowing the history of Salem and many of its workers and what we do to make security TIGHT, we need to keep the plant in good working order, it produces so much power for south Jersey residents and at a low cost. It is one of the best investments. I have heard about nuclear for years even finding out the director at one time was a family member. I know there are strict rules and regulations in this plant that other companies try to follow. And yes, I am a retired employee of the company but not in this location. I also knew the man who wrote the book on Three Mile Island reconstruction. He had ties to the NRC and I heard all about it. PS paid a lot of attention to what they did wrong.