Why was is never publicly disclosed until this past Friday that Matthew Cordaro, quoted in all the LIPA stories, is a member of all the aforementioned panels? A disclaimer would at least put his comments in perspective. There is no opposition viewpoint being publicly acknowledged by the media which has abandoned its 4th estate responsibilities on this topic
Who is Matthew Cordaro
DR Matthew C. Cordaro, is the former head of a utility, President & CEO of Midwest ISO, director of the Center for Management Analysis at C. W. Post Campus of LIU and Op-Ed Contributor to NY Times,Newsday, etc
By MATTHEW C. CORDARO
Published: NY Times February 11, 2007
THE Shoreham nuclear power plant is dead and buried, but there is much to be learned from its demise. And the debate over closing the Indian Point nuclear station in Westchester County brings reminders about what was lost when Shoreham was abandoned.
Back in 1965, the Long Island Lighting Company (where I was the senior vice president from 1985 to 1987) announced plans to build a nuclear power plant on Long Island. The plant was under construction from 1973 to 1984 but for various reasons, it never produced a single kilowatt.
The ultimate defeat of Shoreham stemmed from exaggerated concerns about emergency planning. The campaign against the plant gained momentum in 1979, following the accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania. Though no member of the public was seriously injured there, politicians were eventually persuaded by opposition to the plant to strike a deal with the lighting company to abandon Shoreham.
To this day, Long Islanders are still footing the bill for building and demolishing Shoreham.
Yet 28 years after the Three Mile Island incident and with about 50 years of commercial use of nuclear power, there are 103 plants now operating in the United States with stellar safety records, and people in countries like France rely on nuclear power plants for almost all of their electricity. And with the price of oil continuing to rise, many utilities are looking to develop more nuclear power plants.
One can’t help but wonder whether the decommissioning of Shoreham was the real starting point for serious energy problems on Long Island.
Right now Long Islanders, while paying for the cost of Shoreham, are not getting any of the benefits that it would have provided. Instead, because of excessive reliance on expensive foreign oil, they are burdened by arguably the highest electricity rates in the United States.
One of the primary justifications for Shoreham was that it would reduce Long Island’s dependence on foreign oil. If Shoreham were in operation today it would eliminate the need for more than 4 million barrels a year of imported oil. Also, because nuclear fuel costs are a small fraction of fossil fuel costs, it would substantially reduce Long Island’s electricity rates and significantly lower the dreaded fuel surcharge.
Moreover, Shoreham would have protected the air we breathe by eliminating the emission of about 17,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, 4,000 tons of nitrogen oxide and 1,000 tons of particulate matter a year. The increased air pollution without Shoreham, though not responsible for instantaneous fatalities, does the work of terrorists by killing thousands of people slowly over time. The only thing lacking is the drama of an attack like Sept. 11.
In addition, the operation of Shoreham would have curtailed the discharge of more than three million tons of carbon dioxide a year, a major cause of global warming. This is why Patrick Moore, a founder and former leader of Greenpeace, sees nuclear energy as the only non-greenhouse-gas-emitting power source capable of effectively replacing fossil fuels and satisfying growing demand.
Besides the positive economic impact of lower rates, Shoreham would have produced substantial financial benefits in terms of jobs, taxes, economic output and higher income. Indian Point, alone, contributes $763.3 million a year to Westchester’s economy.
Sure, there are those who say that they sleep better at night because there is no Shoreham, but this false sense of security is derived from a fear of an extremely unlikely piece of Hollywood fiction. In the real world, without Shoreham, these same people who are sleeping better are waking up to higher utility bills, more polluted air and climate change.
The unfortunate history of Shoreham shows us what to expect from an ill-advised closing of Indian Point. I hope the people of Westchester will avoid making a mistake that would compound an already serious energy situation for the region.