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Gas-fired power plant proposed at Shoreham

The decommissioned Shoreham Nuclear Power plant as seen

The decommissioned Shoreham Nuclear Power plant as seen from Creek Road in Shoreham. (July 3, 2012) Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Property at the site of the decommissioned Shoreham Nuclear Power plant could become the site of a major new gas-fired power plant, built by a Japanese energy conglomerate.

J-Power USA Development, a subsidiary of the Electric Power Development Co. of Japan, has submitted the proposal and two others for Long Island as part of the state's energy highway project, an initiative by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to build up energy infrastructure in the state.

Newsday has reported previously that J-Power proposed a gas-fired plant for the Shoreham property as part of a plan by the Long Island Power Authority to develop up to 2,500 megawatts of new power sources.

The J-Power proposals are on a LIPA short list for approval, along with those for a new plant at Kings Park and an expansion of the Caithness facility in Yaphank.

The J-Power proposal to the state is the most detailed description of the Shoreham project so far. In a nine-page plan, J-Power proposes a 398-megawatt gas-fired plant that would require a 26-mile extension of the Iroquois natural gas line from Connecticut to Shoreham.

"The facility would be located on LIPA-owned property to the immediate west of the decommissioned Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant," the proposal says.


LIPA owns building

LIPA owns the nuclear plant building, and 58 surrounding acres where the gas-fired plant would be constructed. The nuclear facility was decommissioned after a 1989 agreement between the state and the former Long Island Lighting Co. Supporters saw the nuclear plant as a solution to Long Island's growing energy needs, but activists and environmentalists argue that it was unsafe, and that a citizen-evacuation plan didn't exist.

Despite numerous proposals, the waterfront facility in Shoreham remains largely abandoned. The decommissioning cost $186 million, and officials say it could cost significantly more to fully demolish the thickly walled structures. As a result, they still stand.


Plans appear similar

The J-Power proposal appears to be the same as another plan the company has submitted as part of the LIPA request for new power projects. But Stephen Thome, vice president of development for J-Power, noted that the LIPA bidding process is confidential and said, "We can't draw any connection between what we submitted for the energy highway proposal" and the LIPA request for proposals.

LIPA spokesman Mark Gross declined to comment Tuesday.

Bryan Lilly, president of the Shoreham Civic Association, said he has met twice with J-Power officials about the proposed Shoreham plant. He said he expects community reaction to be mixed.

"A lot of people would be for it because it could possibly lower or stabilize their taxes," Lilly said. "That said, there are people in that area that may not be for it because of the possible disruption of their lifestyle."

J-Power operates a 79.9-megawatt oil-fired plant at Shoreham, used only at times of high demand. A new plant would start operating by May 2017, the proposal states.

Scott Rupff, a spokesman for Iroquois, confirmed that a 26-mile extension of the existing gas line in Long Island Sound is under consideration. "It depends on market interest," he said of the project.

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