As a frequent critic of articles in The Post on energy issues, I offer my congratulations on the views expressed in "Nuclear Power and the Governors" {editorial, Nov. 7}. The refusals by the governors of Massachusetts and New York to cooperate in the emergency planning for accidents at the Seabrook and Shoreham plants, which were appropriately if regrettably overridden by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's new rule, also appear to be out of phase with public attitudes.

According to a recent survey by Cambridge Reports, about 70 percent of the public, if not enamored of nuclear power, at least recognizes its importance in meeting this country's energy needs now and increasingly in the future. Given these pragmatic attitudes by a substantial majority of the public, the positions of the governors appear to represent the irrational fears and prejudices held by only a small (though highly vocal) segment of the public. It is unfortunate that the governors have chosen to follow that segment rather than to provide the rational leadership one expects to see in those holding high office.

Since public attitudes are shaped largely by the information (and misinformation) people derive from print and electronic media, The Post's articles and editorials on this issue are important contributors to these attitudes. In that regard, the failure of The Post to report in its postelection issue Nov. 4 the rejection by Maine voters of a referendum to close down the Maine Yankee nuclear plant did not contribute to the public's knowledge base.

Oh, well, one step at a time. MORTON I. GOLDMAN Rockville

Many of us in Williamsburg, Va., a community that is within five miles of the Surry nuclear power plant, understand very well the reluctance of Govs. Michael Dukakis and Mario Cuomo to allow the operation of the Seabrook and Shoreham plants. These concerned officials are not simply being petulant, as The Post's editorial implied. Indeed, there are very real dangers inherent in the operation of nuclear power plants. As the NRC's own statistics state, there is a 45 percent chance of a severe core meltdown at some U.S. nuclear reactor in the next 20 years. Three-Mile Island and Chernobyl have already shown all too graphically the fallibility of technology and the possibility of human error.

Nuclear energy accounts for only 17 percent of our electricity. Even had no reactor operated in 1985, utilities still could have produced 16 percent more power than their customers needed. And there are many alternatives to nuclear energy: water, solar energy, coal plants equipped with scrubbers to reduce acid-rain threat, the use of industrial heat to generate electricity (cogeneration) and conservation.

The citizens and officials who live in close proximity to nuclear power plants have both the right and the responsibility to participate in decisions regarding their licensing. The NRC's recent ruling shows a callous disregard for the people whose lives would be most endangered should a serious accident occur. JUDY ZWELLING THAYER CORY Co-organizers, Citizen Action for a Safe Environment Williamsburg, Va.