Nora Bredes led effort to shut Shoreham plant; dies at 60

08/20/2011 9:16 AM |

COURTESY PHOTO | Former county Legislator Nora Bredes.

Nora Bredes, a woman instrumental in shutting down the nuclear power plant in Shoreham, died Thursday of breast cancer. She was 60.

Ms. Bredes, who lived in Pittsford, N.Y., helped establish the Shoreham Opponents Coalition, which grew from having a handful of members when it formed in 1979 to boasting more than 5,000. She was later elected to the Suffolk County Legislature, where she served from 1992 to 1998.

Ms. Bredes is survived by her husband, Jack Huttner; her sons, Nathan, Tobias and Gabriel Huttner; and her siblings Don and Amy Bredes.

“She was very committed to activism,” said Peter Maniscalco, who worked closely with Ms. Bredes in the effort to shut down the now-defunct nuclear power plant over safety concerns. “Nora was one of the people who led on the lobbying front. People in public office were comfortable with her. They didn’t feel threatened by her.”

Ms. Bredes was a leader in the movement to close down the facility on the Long Island Sound. In 1979, 15,000 people gathered in protest, arguing that residents could not be evacuated fast enough if there was an accident at the plant. The protest was the largest Long Island had ever seen.

Ms. Bredes’ son, Nathan, said she was proud of her work in closing down the power plant, but saw her accomplishments as a Suffolk County Legislator as even more significant.

“I think stopping the Shoreham nuclear power plant was obviously really important to her,” he said. “In general, her time in the Suffolk County Legislature is where she felt like she did the most.”

According to her Facebook page, Ms. Bredes attended Huntington High School and Cornell University. She went to Teachers College at Columbia University for graduate school, and later worked as the director of the Susan B. Anthony Center for Women’s Leadership. Her favorite quotation is attributed to E.M. Forster and reads “Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer.”

Sid Bail of the Wading River Civic Association remembers Ms. Bredes as a smart woman who played a “critical” role in the power plant’s closing.

“She was a very, very bright and articulate lady,” he said. “It’s sad to hear.”

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