I am a beach-comber. One Spring about ten years ago I plucked my first bit of sponge coral from a cold, rocky beach in Huntington. I examined it carefully and looked it up on the Internet. It appeared to be a species that is only able to thrive in water temperatures between 73° and 84° Fahrenheit. The Great Lobster die-off started in 1999. By 2007 the lobster population had been decimated…Lobster begin to die off above 70 degrees F. The optimal temperature for a lobster is between 61 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the water passes 70 F, it holds less oxygen and the lobster has to fight just to stay alive, and more often than not, succumbs either to the heat or bacterial infection.

While nuclear energy for electricity is a dead issue on Long Island, we are not immune to it’s affects and still must live downstream from Millstone–an outdated nuclear power plant that spews reactor heated cooling water into Long Island Sound. The process of making electricity from U235 creates temperatures of 600 degrees Celsius (1112F) in the fuel rods at the core of the reactor, which have to be cooled. The coolant in Millstone’s case is the water from Niantic Bay which feeds into LI Sound—since Millstone discards excess heat with a “once-through” cooling method, the system pumps about two billion gallons of water through the process every day. The water returned to Niantic Bay is 25 degrees warmer than it was when it was first pumped in.
In July of 2014, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission agreed that the Millstone Nuclear power plant in Waterford Connecticut, could or is allowed to raise the temperature of the sound up to 80 degrees. Millstone provides cheap electricity to almost half of Connecticut and is the largest nuclear facility in New England.
Joining the live coral sponge I found on the beach are Lionfish-a poisonous predator common to the tropics but getting very comfortable in the beautiful, blue Long Island Sound.

We are all stakeholders in the health of our native waters. I urge that you support the bill to study Millstone’s impact on our environment.


© 2011 Street Smarts Publishing, Inc.