The Millstone Power Station in Waterford, Connecticut (Photo: Dominion Resources)

Suffolk County will spend $79,435 in water quality protection funds on a study of the impacts of the Millstone nuclear power plant on L.I. Sound water temperatures if a bill passed by legislators yesterday is signed into law by the county executive.

The project, to be undertaken by Stony Brook University scientists, will develop a hydrothermal model of the L.I. Sound and Peconic estuary, is intended to help predict future environmental impacts from point sources of heat being discharged into the sound by the Millstone nuclear power plant in Waterford, Connecticut.

Deputy Presiding Officer Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk) sponsored the measure because the sound’s temperatures “are rising at an alarming rate,” he said in an interview last month.

“Data collected show the sound’s temperature is rising one degree per decade for the last 40 years. The ocean temperature is rising one degree per century. That’s significantly faster,” he said.

“Millstone is the smoking gun.”

The plant cycles 2 billion gallons of water from the sound daily, according to Schneiderman. The water, used to cool the plant’s reactors, comes out 20 degrees warmer than it went in, he said. “They put 15 million BTUs per hour into the L.I. Sound,” he said.

Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) requested county funding for the study.

North Fork Legislator Al Krupski (D-Peconic) joined with Republicans Thomas Muratore, Thomas Cilmi, Rob Trotta and Kevin McCaffrey in voting against the measure, which passed by a vote of 11 to 5.

County Executive Bellone is expected to sign the bill, Schneiderman said.

Krupski, whose First Legislative District runs along the north shore, bordering the sound from one end to the other, told RiverheadLOCAL last month — after he cast the lone dissenting vote on the legislature’s Environment, Planning and Agriculture committee — that he didn’t think the study has value.

“Why fund a study to tell us something we already know?” Krupski asked. He said if a study is needed, the regulatory agency should do it, not Suffolk County, which has no oversight role or authority over the Millstone plant.

“If in fact thermal pollution from the power plant is having a negative effect on the marine environment, the federal agency should be doing [the study] and the power plant should pay for it,” Krupski said. The county’s limited Clean Water Fund money could be put to better use, Krupski said.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.