Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Where's the Beef?

Dear Lord,

What is this world (and, for that matter, the after world) coming to?

Yesterday I learned that the Pope is raising the bar for people who would be saints. The New York Times reported:

New procedures were announced Monday calling for more ''rigor'' and ''sobriety'' by bishops when deciding to begin the process of beatification and in determining the required miracles.

Today I learn that the state of Massachusetts would raise the bar for nuclear power plants that want to be nuclear power plants (again). As reported by The Brattleboro Reformer:

[Governor of Massachusetts]Patrick administration officials and Attorney General Martha Coakley say they are concerned about shortcomings in the process identified in a report released last September by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's own inspector general's office.

Among those plants seeking renewals are the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth and the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station, just over the border in Vernon, Vt.

The audit said that in many cases NRC staff members charged with reviewing license application renewals "did not describe any review methodology for operating experience or provide any specific support for the staff's conclusions" that the plants were safe to continue operating.

Another coinky-dink? It ain't over 'till it's over, Lord.



Friday, February 15, 2008

J. Wayne Leonard on TMZ.com!

Dear God,

All right, now I know why the folks at Entergy have been such avid readers of the Honesty, Rich, Richer, and J. Wayne Leonard Lives Here prayers on this blog. They're terribly nervous about public perception of them and their corporate structure-—especially now, given the fact that the Vermont legislature has hired a consultant to investigate Entergy's corporate structure. This is because Entergy has formed a new company, NewCo, into which it hopes to spin its non-utility assets including Vermont Yankee, Pilgrim, and Indian Point.

Let's hope things go well for Entergy in this investigation. Our ability to convince Vermonters that the creation of NewCo is a benign event means a lot to us, and to our corporate children.



Monday, February 11, 2008

Vermont Yankee's Endless Dream Date

Dear God,

I've had another nightmare.

(Here, Lord, just as with my What We Talk About When We Talk About Nuclear Nightmares prayer, I need you to imagine wavy lines occupying your field of vision and strange, discordant music. You're entering into my dream sequence.)

Old guy goes into the doctor's office. Doctor says, "Hey! You look great! What are you doing that's different?"

Old guy says, "I've met a bevy of gorgeous, completely willing 18 year old girls. All we do is make the amore. We make it in the morning before breakfast, then after breakfast, then before lunch, then after lunch and on throughout the day. The amore, the amore, the amore."

Doctor says, "Better slow down. With a guy your age, too much amore can be fatal."

Old guy says, "So what? If they die, they die."

(Image more wavy lines and creepy music now.)


What does this nightmare mean, Lord? Here I am in the midst of spinning PR for our re-licensing battle and the nuclear protesters just figured out that it's not just one Vermont Yankee re-licensing battle that they'll have to fight but, potentially, an endless number of them. Apparently the NRC does not in any way limit the number of times a plant can try to re-up on its license.

Is this an anxiety dream, Lord? Should I be worrying about potential catastrophic consequences of "too much amore" (a/k/a pushing our aging plant beyond its reasonable limit)?

It feels so good to schmooze our "too cheap to meter" energy message in the morning before breakfast, then after breakfast, then before lunch, then after lunch and on throughout the day. But shouldn't I ever stop to wonder? What did my dream mean with, "So what? If they die, they die?"

Thanks for listening, Lord. Corporate profit I understand. Dreams I'm not so good at.



What We Talk About When We Talk About Nuclear Nightmare

Dear God,

I've had a terrible dream. Or is it just a terrible idea? It was about Joan Rivers writing a column for people who've had too many face lifts -- or extended the age of their nuclear power plants too darn far.

(Lord, here I need you to imagine wavy lines occupying your field of vision and strange, discordant music. You're entering into my dream sequence.)


Q. Joan, I've think I've overdone things. How many times should one gussy up one's nose/lips/eyebrows/cheekbones? Does one's face eventually just fall apart after too much tweaking?

A. I'm glad you asked that question!

Have you wondered if the fountain of youth really exists? Sounds like you're busy looking for it! Sadly, it doesn't, not in the mythical sense. But there are many ways to slow down the aging process and look and feel younger. Remember: One can't be too careful when dealing with face lifts and aging nuclear reactors.

Here are a few concerns that I hope are being carefully addressed:

1. Water is your number one beauty ally. Drink plenty of it and offer some to your nuclear power plant, too! Because, remember, radiation hardening can result in brittleness for a reactor vessel and its components.

2. Stress can play havoc with your complexion—and with the metal welds in your reactor. Sleep is the natural healer for skin. De-commissioning and de-contamination is what works for aging plants.

3. Thermal cycling fatigue and the potential for cracking in metals can cause enormous problems in plants and may trigger automatic shutdowns and/or widespread panic and contamination. Thermal fatigue on your skin is going to look like a sunburn. Apply aloe.

4. In a plant, aging electronic control components should be replaced and redundant systems should be installed. For aging skin, remember that heavy powder is your enemy. It gets caught in fine lines and can magnify them, making you look older.

(Imagine more wavy lines and creepy music now.)

Lord, do you think I need Ambien?


Saturday, February 9, 2008

Our Nuke Plant and Joan River's Face

Dear God, Lord!

I worked all day today, Saturday, and missed the lovely snow. I was such a good employee, so responsible to the cause. But just as I was toddling off to bed at 11:37 pm feeling like I'd fought the fight about as well as can be expected for one night, I found this from Laughingmama. It was deep in the heart of one of the comments she left on my All the Nude Terrorists Went Home prayer:
NRC regulations do not limit the number of times a reactor license may be renewed.

A nip here, a tuck there.... Perhaps I've lost my sense of humor. Yes, if we get this license extension it will be good for Entergy, and surely I will survive the months of thankless overtime until we get it. But another license extension after that? And then another?

Haven't they looked at Joan Rivers's face? Pamela Anderson Lee's breasts? The woman on Oprah last September whose lips and cheeks did not move when she talked? Endless attempts at rejuvenation do not always have a pleasant outcome.

Hey, if you think I'm kidding, God, come to the joint NRC and DOE (Department of Energy) public workshop scheduled for Feb. 19-21 at the Hyatt Regency in Bethesda, MD. It's on "technical issues and research topics for potential extended operation of the nation’s nuclear power plants beyond 60 years."

Aha! It's impossible I'd have to work on a third license extension. Entergy might still be in the mood to put us all at risk (why wouldn't they be?), but I'll be dead, or pretty close to it, from old age.

Which I'm creeping towards perhaps more quickly than I otherwise might, what with burning all this midnight oil. Gotta get some shuteye.



Saturday, February 2, 2008

All of The Nude Terrorists Went Home

Dear Lord,

Have you noticed how the fire storm around Wackenhut Security services has died down? Hired guns from Wackenhut are the single line of defense we have between the terrorists (whom we all know to shop naked in Brattleboro) and the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. Well, it's no longer legal to shop naked in Brattleboro, and that alone seems to have had an effect on the level of fear around here. Who knew inspiring confidence in the American citizenry could be so easy? The most amazing thing, though, Lord, is that the Wackenhut fire storm died down even though:

  • In January, the NRC proposed a $208,000 fine against Florida Power & Light for security violations by Wackenhut at its Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant. According to NRC documents, "the fine is for four violations that include two occurrences of willfully failing to properly equip armed responders..." Indeed, two guards intentionally disabled their weapons by removing or breaking firing pins.

  • Wackenhut seems to be doing some cost-cutting, and maybe at a bad time. Wackenhut guards nuclear facilities and prisons and has other sorts of contracts, as well. But nuclear power plants and prisons alone are a big deal! As a result of the company's cost-saving measures, many people are wondering how safe the plants and people that Wackenhut guards really are. Some people even worry about the safety of the guards themselves. For example, I've mentioned before that Wackenhut guards at nuclear power plants have been found to regularly sleep on the job. Now this is from Mongrel Magazine.
    Wackenhut’s inspired cost-cutting methods were shared with the world following the slow death of Ralph Garcia, a guard who was left bleeding for half-an-hour after being stabbed by several of the 60 homicidal Neo Nazis and members of the Mexican mafia that he had been left in charge of. When warned of the potential safety concerns involved with leaving just one guard in a hall to look after these hardened criminals, one Wackenhut exec was reported to have philosophized that ‘losing one officer was better than losing two’. See, it’s all mathematics.

  • There are older charges about Wackenhut, things too awful to repeat here. Or even here.

Granted, it's easy to get a little whacked up about Wackenhut--and then to make egregious, bad puns about the corporate name. People are accusing Wackenhut of just about everything. Go ahead, God, enter "Wackenhut" and "UFO" in the Google search field and see what you get. My point exactly.

So, anyway, we here at Vermont Yankee seem to have survived the Wackenhut scandals, and all because the selectboard of Brattleboro made it illegal to be nude in public and so all of the terrorists have gone back to New York. We don't have to worry whether our guards at Vermont Yankee are sleeping en masse or have disabled their guns or given them to their wives for safe-keeping or been in any way complicit in the repeated rape of a 14 year old.