By Mike Lander on
It was a Sunday morning, June 5, 1983, and I decided to give myself a self assignment. It seemed to be a good idea at the time. An anti-nuclear movement demonstration was scheduled that day at the still unfinished Shoreham Nuclear Plant on Long Island. The anti-nuclear movement had been underway for several decades, but with the accident at Three Mile Island fresh in everyone’s memory this demonstration took on new meaning.
In the early 1970s the construction of the Shoreham plant had been approved by voters in a bond issue of several hundred million dollars. With cost overruns the eventual price would exceed $4 billion. The problem with Shoreham was that it was impossible for the utility to produce a successful evacuation plan for Long Island in case of a nuclear accident. Protests grew including the one that I covered. A photo that I took of a demonstrator under arrest was published on page 6 in the New York Post the following day, June 6. It was a proud moment.
The governing utility, Long Island Lighting Company, never did come up an approved evacuation plan, and so the plant failed to produce a single kilowatt of electricity. To add insult to injury, the ratepayers were charged several hundred million dollars to decommission the plant. The final straw was the accident at Chernobyl in the Ukraine. The subject of nuclear power for Long Island became a dead issue.