]]]]]]]]]]]      SHOREHAM FIGHT LOOKING SILLY      [[[[[[[[[[[[[ 
                       By Jeffrey Stinson            (12/5/1988)
(Jeff  Stinson is Albany  bureau chief for Gannett News Service.)
   From Gannett Westchester Newspapers, 4 December 1988, p. B1:1

            [Kindly uploaded by Freeman 10602PANC]

   To much of  the world, Gov. Mario  Cuomo and state legislators
had to look a little silly this week.
   Here they were  talking about how  to not only  shut down, but
dismantle, the spanking new,  $5.3 billion Shoreham nuclear power
plant practically on the eve of its opening at full throttle.
   And in its  place, they were talking  about building five gas-
and coal-fired  electrical generating  plants that  could cost as
much in the long run to build.
   The reason?  Although  the plant is  considered safe enough to
operate practically anywhere  else in New  York, its existence on
the north shore of  Long Island is deemed by  many to be a threat
to the 2.7 million people who live  on the island.  In event of a
nuclear disaster at the plant, Cuomo and other Shoreham opponents
say, the island cannot be evacuated safely.

A DANGEROUS PROSPECT?
   To the millions  of Europeans and Japanese  who live next door
to  nuclear power  plants, New  York's fears  must seem  a little
silly.   To others  around the  world concerned  about scientific
warnings that the continued burning  of oil and coal is releasing
so much heat-trapping gas that  it's changing the global climate,
such a swap must seem silly, even dangerous.
   To dollars-and-cents  types, the  idea of  scrapping a  new $5
billion plant  just as  it's ready to  open must  seem silly too.
Why wait  until the plant  is built  to get around  to tearing it
down?  What if the cartel of Middle East oil-producing nations do
agree to jack up oil prices to mid-1970s levels?
   Business  and   editorial  writers  across   the  nation  have
scratched  their  heads   in  disbelief  ever   since  Cuomo  and
Shoreham's sponsor, Long Island  Lighting Co., tentatively agreed
in May to  the deal to scrap  the plant in  return for tax breaks
and electrical  rate increases,  pending legislative  approval to
key aspects  of the  agreement by  Dec. 2  [actually, midnight of
Dec. 1].
   To New Yorkers  living in other  parts of the  state, new talk
this week of using  state tax dollars to  keep rates down on Long
Island in  order to  sweeten the  deal started  sounding not only
silly, but frightening.

LONG ISLAND IS CROWDED ENOUGH
   Practical sorts wondered how in  the world five new generating
plants  could  ever be  placed  on crowded  Long  Island.  Nobody
wanted to live next door to a nuclear power plant, but who wanted
to live next door to a smokestack either?
   And  even  to  some   state  legislators  the  whole  Shoreham
situation seemed, well, more than silly.
   The whole Shoreham situation has been nuts from the beginning.
Spawned in 1965,  Shoreham quickly ran  into trouble.  Planned to
cost $75 million  and be finished  in 1973, it  fell years behind
schedule.   Mismanagement   by  LILCO  and   new  federal  safety
standards  dragged out  construction and  bloated costs  70 times
over.
   All the while,  LILCO customers who  would have to  pay for it
all  watched in  dismay as  concerns  over safety  and evacuation
escalated.
   By the  time the plant  was finished in  1984, local political
opposition to Shoreham and LILCO was solid.  And Cuomo, who would
not approve any evacuation plan the plant needed for an operating
license, vowed it would never open.
   Cuomo's deal -- which  lawmakers needed to essentially endorse
this week to  close the plant and  keep LILCO healthy financially
-- was a complicated one.  In addition to using a state authority
to build  the new plants,  the nation's taxpayer's  would have to
eat up  half of  Shoreham's costs  through LILCO  tax write-offs.
The  state would  help refinance  LILCO's considerable  debt, and
Long Island ratepayers would face  63 percent rate increases over
the next decade.
   Many  Long   Islanders  and  their   legislators  thought  the
guaranteed rate increases contained in the deal were too high for
LILCO customers to swallow.  Cuomo warned that they would be even
higher if Shoreham were allowed to open.
   Still,  Long Island  lawmakers  wanted the  Cuomo  deal killed
because  it  wasn't  good enough.   And  yes,  they  still wanted
Shoreham closed.   And yes, they  still wanted  their power needs
met.
   To much of the world, maybe  anyone not living on Long Island,
this may be the silliest aspect to the Shoreham mess yet.

[More: IEEE  Spectrum, Vol. 24,  No. 11  (November 1987), Special
report: the Shoreham saga.]

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