Nuclear one set forward two steps back

Posted on January 5, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

New York Times – TWO decades after the $6 billion Shoreham nuclear power plant was closed, the Long Island Power Authority has announced plans to hire a consultant to advise it on what to do with a 58-acre waterfront property where the plant’s decommissioned remains are located.
 
Mr. Law said all options would be on the table except one: The state law that created the authority prohibits a nuclear plant, he said, and therefore none will be considered.
 
“But the fact of the matter is, Long Island still cannot be evacuated,” a key factor in the plant’s closing.
 
The Shoreham plant, announced by the Long Island Lighting Company in 1965 and tested at low power in 1985, was shuttered in 1989 in a deal between the company and Gov. Mario M. Cuomo. Lilco later merged with Brooklyn Union Gas to form the KeySpan Corporation, which in turn was acquired by British-owned National Grid two years ago.
 
The closing of the Shoreham plant followed years of protests that evacuation would be impossible in the event of an accident at the 800-megawatt plant. Lilco sold the plant to LIPA for a ceremonial $1 in 1992. The authority assumed the $6 billion plant debt.
 
The authority’s 1.1 million customers have never received energy from the Shoreham plant, the only fully licensed nuclear power reactor never to go into commercial operation, and are still paying off its remaining debt.
 
On Dec. 1, a decision by the United States Supreme Court set back prospects for a new natural gas supply at Shoreham, a supply Mr. Law and others said was a prerequisite for a gas-powered generating station there. The court refused to hear an appeal by Islander East, a natural gas pipeline company half-owned by National Grid, of a lower court ruling upholding the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection’s denial of a clean water permit needed for the project to proceed.
 
The gas line would have run under Long Island Sound from Branford, Conn., to near the Shoreham site.
 
Edward P. Romaine, a Suffolk County legislator from Center Moriches who is on the advisory committee, said the property should become a solar energy park or what he called a green research facility.
 
But existing solar technology works best when it is near the user, experts say. An example would be solar panels on roofs of commercial buildings.
 
The Shoreham property’s location on Long Island Sound between Shoreham and Wading River is not considered favourable for wind turbines. Experts say that for Long Island, only offshore areas in the Atlantic Ocean have enough wind to make commercial turbines feasible.
 
Two small wind turbines LIPA installed on the Shoreham property have had mixed records and were not turning on a recent morning in light winds.
 
As LIPA plans for its 58 acres, National Grid is considering what to do with its 800-acre property and “how best to dispose of it down the road,” said Steven L. Zelkowitz, its executive vice president for business development and energy.
 
In 2003, local residents objected to an $800 million proposal by American Ref-Fuel to incinerate New York City garbage at the site that was brought in by barges. The project did not advance. Area residents have also opposed a ferry terminal at Shoreham because of road traffic.
 
Please read full via – New York Times
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