In January of 2009, I was contacted by a young man who introduced himself as an aspiring documentary film maker who was an avid listener of The Atomic Show Podcast. Ray grew up on Long Island and was always interested in the saga of the local nuclear power plant at Shoreham.
He had developed a partnership with a journalist who was also interested in telling the story – after doing some deep research and learning all he could about both sides. They thought that interviewing me would add something to the story, even though I only know about the specifics from written research and second hand information.
Shoreham is famous within the nuclear industry as one of the main reasons why people who propose nuclear plants have trouble raising funds. The construction project was embroiled in numerous challenges. It took far longer and cost about ten times as much as originally budgeted. Finally after the Long Island Lighting Company had borrowed and spent nearly $6 billion to resolve all of the issues, complete the construction and obtain an operating license from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, local governments refused to agree to the emergency response plans. The plant never operated and was sold to the state of New York for $1 plus an agreement to take on the accumulated debts.
People on Long Island are still making payments on the loans. They have some of the highest electrical power rates in the country. They also are blessed with breathing the exhaust from the diesel power stations, oil furnaces, and waste to energy plants that supply most of the energy needs on the island.
Ray and his partner, James, have finished gathering many hours worth of video and audio interviews to document the complex and intriguing saga. They conducted detailed, well prepared interviews with a number of people including Gwyneth Cravens, Harvey Wasserman, and Karl Grossman.
Gwyneth Cravens lives on Long Island and was an active protester working to stop Shoreham from being built and operated. After becoming friends with a man who specialized in probabilistic risk assessments related to nuclear energy, she did some serious research and wrote a book titled Power to Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy.
Karl Grossman and Harvey Wasserman have built multi-decade careers around publishing and speaking about their efforts to slow or stop nuclear energy projects, so they offer a completely different view of the situation. Both are still active in efforts to get rid of nuclear energy plants and prevent any new ones from being constructed.
The lessons in the interviews along with other evidence that the investigators discovered will be valuable for all interested in the topic. Now all Ray needs to do is to complete the editing and arrange for distribution – which he plans to do via the web, probably for free. If you would like to help Ray reach the finish line so that the world can see the completed story, please go to his Kickstarter.com fundraising site to find out more.