Thank God Shoreham never opened

03/24/2011 11:01 AM |

The profoundly disturbing images coming out of Japan, coupled with news reports about the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant on the banks of the Hudson River in Buchanan, N.Y., have got me thinking again about what might have been if the Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant had been allowed to operate.

In the case of Japan, American advisors have opined that nothing less than a 50-mile evacuation zone would be prudent. Translate that to Indian Point, which was built near two earthquake-prone geological faults, and you’re talking about 20 million people living within 50 miles. No way such an evacuation could ever be successfully accomplished.

The population within 50 miles of Shoreham is something less, because it’s about 65 miles from there to Manhattan, but the evacuation challenge would have been much greater because of the, pardon the expression, dead end that is the East End of Long Island. Transport Fukushima to Shoreham and you’re talking civil disorder and disarray like this nation has never seen.

There have been times since the end of the successful campaign to block the Shoreham plant when some may have wondered if the fight was worth it, particularly considering the generally excellent safety record of nuclear power plants in this country. This is not one of those times.
Oh, yes, Millstone. I almost forgot Millstone, which looms across Long Island Sound just eight miles from the North Fork. If the Millstone plant melts down, our only means of evacuation might end up being the Queens-Midtown Tunnel.

Earthquakes can hit anywhere but tsunamis wreak havoc only in coastal regions. Oops.

And the experts say Long Island is particularly vulnerable because, generally speaking, our shoreline is comparatively low. We have some imposing cliffs on the North Shore, but the South Shore would be steamrolled by a 30-foot-high wave. And if the tsunami originated in the open Atlantic, you can’t help but wonder if East Hampton, Southampton and Shelter Island towns would act as life-saving breakwaters for their neighbors on the North Fork.

If I seem a bit preoccupied this week, it is because I am. With March Madness, also known as the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. Ever since my college days, when I covered the sport for the Philadelphia Inquirer, I’ve been a college basketball nut.

It started out with heroes like Bill Bradley, Bob Lanier and Calvin Murphy and continues more than 40 years later with the likes of Kemba Walker, Nolan Smith and Jimmer Fredette, the most unlikely of hoop heroes from the most unlikely of home towns, Glens Falls, N.Y., whose only other meaningful basketball-related claim to fame is that it is the home of the New York State high school basketball championships.

In my book, college basketball is the No. 1 spectator sport, far surpassing baseball (too boring), football (too violent) and pro basketball, wherein overpaid and travel-weary manchilds dial up the college game’s every-day intensity only during the last minute of regular season games and the last quarter of playoff games.

From Thursday through Sunday of this past week, I ended up watching a portion of at least 20 college basketball games on television. (The former Joan Giger Walker passed salted peanuts and a refreshing beverage from time to time, but she was savvy enough not to attempt any meaningful conversations. All she would have received in return was a blank stare and a few indecipherable mumbles having to do with back door screens and vision-challenged officials.)

This orgy of televised college basketball was aided and abetted by two comparatively recent developments: the advent of digital video recording (DVR) technology, which allows fans like me to record games when our life partners thoughtlessly schedule dinner engagements or other annoying distractions opposite key basketball games; and the NCAA’s unprecedented decision to televise every game live on one of four separate networks, CBS, TBS, TNT and something I never heard of before called TRU.

Originally, there were 68 teams alive in this single-elimination tournament. Now there are but 16. And after this coming weekend, only the Final Four will remain.

Remember, you heard it here first: The aforementioned Final Four will consist of Ohio State, Duke, Florida and, surprise of surprises, Virginia Commonwealth.

And the 2011 NCAA national champions? Why, Duke, of course.

(Columnist’s note: Transmit your Final Four and national champion picks to me at tgustavson@timesreview.com no later than 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, March 24, to be eligible for a prize too grand to specify here. Contestants will receive one point for each correct Final Four pick and two points for choosing the eventual national champion.)

tgustavson@timesreview.com

Comments

comments

67 Comment

  • Tragic and very disconcerting regarding the happenings in Japan. The prospect of a nuclear accident, earthquakes or tsunamis hitting the North Fork , where escape routes, are practically non-existent very scary, indeed.

  • This is an ignorant, reactive article on Shoreham. Ignorant in the sense that the author does not have sufficient information to make such an assessment. Fear is best served this way.

  • I remember reading an account by a worker from the boilermakers union describing how shoddy the construction was at Shoreham. That about says it all.

    And the aging Connecticut Yankee nuclear installation, visible from parts of the North Fork, has had its share of problems, as has the Indian Point plant on the Hudson.

    Of course the comment is reactive. It asks “what if” what happened in Japan happened here.

  • So the town of Southold spent the last 10 years fighting against cell phone towers because the towers would ruin our scenic, bucolic vistas, and now we are going to populate those same scenic, bucolic vistas with giant windmills, all in the name of being “green.”

  • I’m no fan of the windmills, but at 120 feet, they are much shorter than cell phone towers.

  • No, not at all. Actually, 120′ is the height of an average cell tower.

  • Southold Town will host the The East End Wind Symposium in May, which will be the fourth and probably final meeting, we have been working with four of the five east end towns, Islip Town, Suffolk County Planning Commission, and National Grid as well as local industry professionals to try and bring a more uniformed code to the area.
    As far as the difference in sound, it came from me standing under and around each of the turbines.

  • Southold Town will host the The East End Wind Symposium in May, which will be the fourth and probably final meeting, we have been working with four of the five east end towns, Islip Town, Suffolk County Planning Commission, and National Grid as well as local industry professionals to try and bring a more uniformed code to the area.
    As far as the difference in sound, it came from me standing under and around each of the turbines.

  • There are like 8000 telephone poles spoiling the beautiful view on Sound Ave. for the sole reason that the phone companies were too cheap to put it underground. But people are going worry about a few wind turbines, which will actually be doing something productive?

  • can i put up a wind mill @ my house, pretty please, let me please. oh that’s right i do not own a winery. They need huge power so they can run their commercial kitchens. I did not know you needed
    that much electric to grow grapes.

  • can i put up a wind mill @ my house, pretty please, let me please. oh that’s right i do not own a winery. They need huge power so they can run their commercial kitchens. I did not know you needed
    that much electric to grow grapes.

  • you are a clown. period. pick up a paper and educate yourself. all in the name of being “green”? i suppose that the preservation of your “scenic, bucolic vistas” is more important than taking steps to better the world we live in? but i bet you have all the answers already, right? please enlighten us over posted comments on the suffolk times website.

  • you are a clown. period. pick up a paper and educate yourself. all in the name of being “green”? i suppose that the preservation of your “scenic, bucolic vistas” is more important than taking steps to better the world we live in? but i bet you have all the answers already, right? please enlighten us over posted comments on the suffolk times website.