Shareholders OK Abandoning Shoreham
Long Island Lighting Co. shareholders have overwhelmingly approved a deal that could make Shoreham the first licensed nuclear power plant in the nation to be abandoned before coming on line.
The agreement approved Wednesday by 95% of the shareholders calls for the utility to sell Shoreham for $1 to the Long Island Power Authority, a state agency.
In exchange, a tentative rate hike schedule was established under which the company gets 11 increases over 10 years of about 5% each. The state Public Service Commission must approve each increase.
The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission still must give permission to the company to sell the plant and to Long Island Power Authority to dismantle it.
Deputy Secretary of Energy W. Henson Moore said the shareholders’ vote “is not a fatal blow to the Shoreham nuclear power plant, nor is it a fatal blow to the energy future for the people of Long Island.” Moore vowed to “preserve the option of using Shoreham in the future” by trying to thwart the transfer of the plant to the state agency.
Long Island Lighting Chairman William Catacosinos told shareholders he doubts that the Energy Department can legally block the sale or keep the plant from being dismantled.
Energy officials say nuclear power is essential to reducing the country’s need for imported oil. Long Island Lighting is almost entirely dependent on foreign oil.
Shoreham was completed in 1985, 10 years behind schedule, at a cost of $5.5 billion. It was supposed to cost $261 million. Other plants have been abandoned before completion.