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Letter: Nuclear plants not clean energy

The saga of the failed Shoreham nuclear power

The saga of the failed Shoreham nuclear power plant spanned decades and cost Long Islanders billions of dollars. It began in 1965 when the Long Island Lighting Co. announced plans to build a nuclear plant in Suffolk. It was soon resolved that the plant would open in Shoreham by 1973 at a cost between $65 million and $75 million. However, several missteps along the way derailed the plan. LILCO was overly ambitious, buying land for a second plant in Lloyd Harbor, increasing the size of the Shoreham location and planning for two more plants in Jamesport that never came to fruition. The moves garnered significant criticism, delayed the timetable and increased costs. The Suffolk Legislature's 15-1 vote in 1983 that the county could not be safely evacuated in the event of an accident was a death knell for the project. The plant was completed a year later, but in 1989 Gov. Mario Cuomo and LILCO chairman William J. Catacosinos signed off permanently closing it. However, the agreement left ratepayers responsible for most of the cost, which by 1994 had ballooned to $6 billion.
-Compiled by Joe Diglio Credit: Daniel Brennan

A recent letter writer wrote that our environment wins with nuclear energy, because its use reduces greenhouse gases produced by fossil fuel-fired power plants [“Right move to save upstate nuke plants,” Letters, Aug. 18].

The writer, who represents a nuclear industry group, failed to acknowledge that nuclear power plants emit a far more dangerous byproduct: radioactive waste. This waste takes tens of thousands of years to disintegrate and must be stored in special containers. Should these continually growing number of containers ever be disturbed by anything — from a meteor crashing into them to an earthquake — the radioactive poison released would be catastrophic to humans.

The writer needs to stop worrying about his wallet and start worrying about the environment and our future.

Gregory M. Gusew, Lake Ronkonkoma