Exelon Shutters NJ's Oyster Creek Nuclear Plant

Exelon Corp said Saturday it took offline its Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey as a precautionary measure as Hurricane Irene bore down on the U.S. East Coast.

The reactor, which has a 636 megawatt capacity, enough power for 600,000 homes, was taken offline at 5 p.m. EDT , according to Marshall Murphy, Director of nuclear communications at Exelon.

"It's really as a precaution, a conservative action because we do expect hurricane force winds," Murphy said.

The plant previously reduced reactor power to prepare for a possible shutdown. Murphy said the duration of the outage will be short.

(Reporting by Joshua Schneyer and Selam Gebrekidan)