Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant

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Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant
Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant.jpg
Country United States
Location East Shoreham, New York
Coordinates 40°57′40″N 72°51′54″W / 40.96111°N 72.86500°W / 40.96111; -72.86500Coordinates: 40°57′40″N 72°51′54″W / 40.96111°N 72.86500°W / 40.96111; -72.86500
Status Decommissioned
Construction began November 1, 1972[1]
Commission date August 1, 1986[1]
Decommission date May 1, 1989[1]
Construction cost $6 Billion
Operator(s) Long Island Lighting Company
Nuclear power station
Reactor type BWR[1]
Power generation
Units decommissioned 820 MW

The Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant was a completed General Electric nuclear boiling water reactor located adjacent to Long Island Sound in East Shoreham, New York. The plant was built between 1973 and 1984 by the Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO), but never operated.

In 1983, the Suffolk County Legislature voted that the county could not be safely evacuated in the event of a serious nuclear accident at the plant, and the governor of New York, Mario Cuomo, ordered state officials not to approve any LILCO-sponsored evacuation plan. The plant was completed in 1984 and in 1985 LILCO received federal permission for low-power 5 percent power tests.

The plant faced considerable public opposition after the 1979 Three Mile Island accident and the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. There were large protests and two dozen local groups opposed the plant. In 1981, 43 percent of Long Islanders opposed the plant; by 1986, that number had risen to 74 percent.

On May 19, 1989, LILCO agreed not to operate the plant in a deal with the state under which most of the $6 billion cost of the unused plant was passed on to Long Island residents. In 1992, the Long Island Power Authority bought the plant from LILCO. The plant was fully decommissioned in 1994.

Proposal[edit]

Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO) President John J. Tuohy announced plans for the plant on April 13, 1965 during a stockholder's meeting.[2] The plant was to be the first commercial nuclear power plant on Long Island and initially had little formal opposition, as Brookhaven already had multiple research nuclear reactors at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, about 5 miles (8.0 km) south of Shoreham.

LILCO purchased a 455-acre (1.84 km2) site in an area which was sparsely populated at the time. They announced the plant would produce 540 megawatts, cost between $65 and $75 million and would be online in 1973.[3][4] At the time, demand for electricity was increasing more than 10 percent per year on Long Island and the Atomic Energy Commission was strongly pushing all power companies to use nuclear power.[3]

In 1968, LILCO increased the size of the plant from 540 to 820 megawatts and announced plans to build two more reactors in Jamesport. Those reactors never got beyond the drawing board stage but this helped delay and increase the costs of the plant.[3][4]

In 1969, LILCO announced plans for a reactor at Lloyd Harbor in Huntington, New York — closer to Manhattan in a more densely populated area. Following resident opposition, the proposal was dropped in 1970, setting the stage for opposition to any nuclear power plant on Long Island.[3]

The plant was to be situated near the path of airplanes landing at MacArthur Airport and the New Haven Airport. It was also to be built in an area that the U.S. Air Force had designated as "high hazard" due to its proximity to the Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant, Calverton, where Grumman military fighter planes were tested, which was five miles (8 km) from the Shoreham site. The Lloyd Harbor Study Group were concerned that a plane could crash into the plant,[5] though studies suggest that an airliner impacting a containment structure would not destroy the structure or even cause sufficient damage to permit the escape of radioactive materials from the reactor core.[6]

Construction[edit]

The plant was built between 1973 and 1984. Its location on Long Island Sound — near the mouth of the small stream that forms the border between Brookhaven and Riverhead towns — was largely rural at the time (although within 60 miles of Manhattan). Cost overruns caused its estimated final cost to approach $2 billion by the late 1970s, due to low worker productivity and design changes ordered by the NRC.[3]

Public opposition[edit]

The Sierra Club, the Audubon Society and environmentalist Barry Commoner opposed the issuance of a construction permit for the Shoreham plant.[7] The plant drew considerable opposition after the 1979 Three Mile Island accident and the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, resulting in delays and cost increases before New York Governor Mario Cuomo ordered purchasing and decommissioning of the plant. The state would ultimately take over LILCO also.[8]

The first small anti-Shoreham demonstration took place in June 1976. On June 3, 1979, following the Three Mile Island accident, 15,000 protesters gathered in the largest demonstration in Long Island history.[3] 600 were arrested as they scaled the plant's fences.[9]

LILCO's problems were compounded by NRC rules in the wake of Three Mile Island, requiring that operators of nuclear plants work out evacuation plans in cooperation with state and local governments. Politicians from local entities joined the opposition, saying their communities could not be evacuated quickly in case of an accident, as any land evacuation off the island would involve traveling at least 60 miles (97 km) back through New York City to reach its bridges.[3]

Nora Bredes, executive director of the Shoreham Opponents Coalition, was a primary organizer of the grass-roots campaign against Shoreham during the 1980s. She lobbied officials, organized advertising campaigns, wrote pamphlets, and planned rallies.[10] Ms. Bredes drew together more than two dozen local opposition groups which included the Lloyd Harbor Study Group, the Farm Bureau, The Long Island Safe Energy Coalition and its newsletter Chain Reaction, Safe'n Sound with its Sound Times newspaper, and the S.H.A.D. Alliance (modeled on New Hampshire's Clamshell Alliance). According to a Newsday poll, in 1981, 43 percent of Long Islanders opposed the plant; by 1986, that number had risen to 74 percent.[10]

On May 19, 1989, LILCO agreed not to operate the plant in a deal with the state under which most of the $6 billion cost of the unused plant was passed along to Long Island residents. The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), headed by Richard Kessel, was created in 1986 specifically to buy the plant from LILCO (which it did in 1992) for one dollar. The plant was fully decommissioned in 1994.

Closure[edit]

On February 17, 1983, the Suffolk County Legislature announced with a 15-1 vote that the county could not be safely evacuated.[3][10] The newly elected governor of New York, Mario Cuomo, ordered state officials not to approve any LILCO-sponsored evacuation plan.[3]

The plant was completed in 1984. In 1985 LILCO received federal permission for low-power 5 percent tests. Confidence in LILCO declined in 1985 when it took nearly two weeks to restore power to all of the island following Hurricane Gloria.

Between 1985 and 1989, as local communities continued to refuse to sign the necessary evacuation plan, LILCO proposed asking the U.S. Congress to approve a law for the evacuation — a move which went nowhere.[specify]

On February 28, 1989, Cuomo and LILCO announced a plan to decommission the plant, which involved the state taking over the plant and then attaching a 3 percent surcharge to Long Island electric bills for 30 years to pay off the $6 billion price tag.[3][10][11] In 1992, Shoreham became the first commercial nuclear power plant in the US to be dismantled.[10]

Aftermath[edit]

It cost $186 million to decommission the reactor, with the radioactive materials license ending in May 1995. The low-pressure turbine rotors are currently in use at the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station. LILCO paid Philadelphia Electric Company $50 million to take its fuel to the Limerick Nuclear Power Plant.[12]

In August 2002 a 100 MW Gas Turbine Power Plant was commissioned on the Shoreham site utilizing the existing switchgear that was in place for the decommissioned nuclear facility. This facility utilizes two 42 MW GE LM6000PC Jet Engine Generators equipped with Sprint injection (can increase capacity to 50 MW each) and Spray Mist Evaporative Cooling (SMEC).[13]

The electric transmission infrastructure has remained, connecting it to the Long Island electric grid. In 2002 the Cross Sound Cable, a submarine power cable capable of transmitting 330 MW, was laid from the Shoreham plant across Long Island Sound to New Haven, Connecticut. During the Northeast Blackout of 2003 the cable was used to ease the effects of the blackout on Long Island. After extended negotiations with Connecticut the cable was put into permanent use.[14]

In 2004, trustees of the Long Island Power Authority voted “to erect two 100-foot wind turbines at the 47-acre site of the long-defunct Shoreham nuclear power plant as part of a renewable-energy program”.[15]

Had the Shoreham Nuclear Power Station gone into operation as planned, it would have prevented the emission of an estimated three million tons of carbon dioxide per year.[16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "SHOREHAM Reactor Details". IAEA. 2013-04-13. Retrieved 2013-04-14. 
  2. ^ LILCO History - fundinguniverse.com - Retrieved November 17, 2007
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Fagin, Dan (2007-05-29). "Lights Out at Shoreham". Newsday. Archived from the original on 2007-12-01. Retrieved 2007-08-30. 
  4. ^ a b Grimston, Malcolm (December 2005). "Shoreham - a case study". The Importance of Politics to Nuclear New Build. London: Chatham House. Retrieved 2007-08-30. 
  5. ^ Shoreham and the rise and fall of the nuclear power industry by Kenneth F. McCallion p. 8.
  6. ^ Cravens, Gwyneth (2007). Power to Save the World: the Truth about Nuclear Energy. New York: Vintage. p. 227. 
  7. ^ Shoreham and the rise and fall of the nuclear power industry by Kenneth F. McCallion p. 7.
  8. ^ Shoreham and the rise and fall of the nuclear power industry by Kenneth F. McCallion
  9. ^ Shoreham Action Is One of Largest Held Worldwide; 15,000 Protest L.I. Atom Plant; 600 Seized 600 Arrested on L.I. as 15,000 Protest at Nuclear Plant Nuclear Supporter on Hand Governor Stresses Safety Thousands Protest Worldwide - New York Times - June 4, 1979
  10. ^ a b c d e Dennis Hevesi (August 22, 2011). "Nora Bredes, Who Fought Long Island Nuclear Plant, Dies at 60". New York Times. 
  11. ^ IN BRIEF; Court Declines Appeal Of Shoreham Ruling - New York Times - January 26, 2003
  12. ^ "Nukeworker.com". 
  13. ^ "Shoreham Gas Turbine Project". 
  14. ^ "GOVERNOR PATAKI HAILS AGREEMENT ON CROSS SOUND CABLE AND GIVES ORDER TO ENERGIZE CABLE AND MAKE IT OPERATIONAL". 
  15. ^ Rather, John (October 1, 2004). "Wind Turbines At Shoreham". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-11-04. 
  16. ^ Cravens, Gwyneth (2007). Power to Save the World: the Truth about Nuclear Energy. New York: Vintage. p. 247.