Shop Rite Wants You To Know What To Do In Case Of A Nuclear Accident
Foward! Into the future! On December 15, 1964 construction began on the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station, in Forked River,NJ—a nuclear powered boiling water reactor (BWR). It was commissioned December 1, 1967. It was licensed to operate until April 9, 2029. This was supposed to be the future of clean energy. I was all of seven years old when it was commissioned, and ten years old when it went on line.
I had no clue this new nuclear fission behemoth existed until 1972 when my parents bought a summer home in neighboring Lanoka Harbor, NJ—a mere five miles away. What did I know of nuclear fission; though I was to soon learn about nuclear fishing, and crabbing. I kid you not! Nuclear fishing was a year round thing once the plant was active. There was a horseshoe shaped inlet fed from Barnegat Bay. One side drew in water to cool the reactor, and the other side pumped heated water from the reactors back to the bay. Locals would fish and crab off the bridge or anchor boats at the mouth of the warm water outlet. Fish, crabs and other marine life seemed to be able to live in this zone year round.
Shop Rite in its infinite wisdom, and a warped sense of community duty, produced the now infamous (well at least in my mind) “Shop Rite Wants You To Know What To Do In Case Of A Nuclear Accident” grocery bags. These brown paper beauties were used to bag everyone’s groceries during the time we started living in Lanoka. The area wasn’t as suburbanized and still quite rurally pristine—except for some nuclear power down the road. These bags were created, I imagine, to inform and help calm a wary public. Whether they did or didn’t—I don’t know.
What I do know is I framed one. I deemed it art from the moment I saw these things! It hung on every wall of every apartment or domicile I lived in—from NJ to Seattle and back. It was strategicly centered just above my couch at eye level. It was the first thing most people noticed when they walked in or sat down. A bit of historic and artistic irony provided by Shop Rite. It was certainly a conversation starter! Most people thought it was something I created or some Andy Warhol produced reproduction. I only wish—on either count! Nope. Nothing more than a 1970s public service announcement sponsered by Peralmutters (the owners of Shop Rite), Shop Rite, & Ocean County Emergency Management Co-Ordination Association.
For quite some time I thought I had lost this gem. When I finally moved from Seattle back to New Jersey I found it in a box of packed wall art that had been in my Seattle condo attic for all those years. I’m fortunate that I still have it. It’s still in good shape, beacuse it’s been framed for all these years. It might very well be the only one in existance. A tell tale artifact of fission gone bye-bye.
The plant was finally decomissioned September 17, 2018—some eleven years before its “expiration” date.
PS: And for those wondering why I keep spelling Shoprite as Shop Rite—back then that’s how they spelled it—as two words. Just a little FYI for you. And some crazy local Lacey history served up for your perusal .
ShopRite wants you to know …
Was doing some closet diving today & look at what I found! Back around the time they built the Forked River Nuclear Power Plant, ShopRite started bagging groceries in these scary, and informative bags as a public service.
I saved one of these puppies for the sole purpose of framing this bag as an arty-fact. It hung as art and a conversation starter in many of my domiciles.
With the Gang Of 45 having access to the launch codes, figured it might be time to break this puppy out and hang it again. Honestly, I thought I lost this years ago. Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!