Monday, November 16, 2009

Everybody Take Five, and Then We'll Shoot the Tsunami Scene.

Dear God,

Pardon me if I yawn. Senate President Peter Shumlin said he'll vote against a 20-year license extension for Vermont Yankee. As if he ever would have voted for it, even now that we've added him to our Christmas dance party invitation list.

In other news, the disaster movie "2012" (the whole world goes this time) broke box office records this weekend.

It opened at No. 1 domestically with $65 million and pulled in $225 million worldwide. The people of Vermont are lining up at the Kipling Cinema! Why, then, are the people of Vermont reluctant to re-license Vermont Yankee? We have a disaster movie waiting to happen here! Even in the midst of a recession, we could all get work as extras!

And then, in really other news, Carrie Prejean lost about a million dollars in her settlement negotiations with Miss California USA after her undisclosed sex tape fell into the pageant's hands. Well, I have an obscene tape here that stands to lose us a whole lot more than a million.

Just ask Pete Shumlin.



Monday, November 9, 2009

Flies Fly In, Flies Fly Out

Dear God,

I'm thinking maybe it's time for Entergy to pony up for a full, paying subscription for me with the Wall Street Journal Online.

Look what I found there today (posted, actually on November 3):

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (Dow Jones)--Entergy Corp. (ETR) remains committed to spinning off five of its nuclear power plants into a stand-alone company, but the company's chief executive suggested a possible alternative Tuesday if it can't win regulatory approval in New York.

Entergy Chairman and Chief Executive J. Wayne Leonard said the company could spin off its utility businesses into a stand-alone company to accomplish the same goal of separating its regulated utility businesses concentrated in the Southeast from its nuclear plants that sell ....

And that's all I know! Because to read the rest of the article, I need a paying subscription, but Entergy is so miserly about paying for anything here at Vermont Yankee, that I don't have one!

Anyway, it looks like, if Entergy can't spin Enexus off, it might spin off everything else into some phenomenally wealthy, as-yet-unnamed entity and leave the five merchant plants to a newly impoverished Entergy. I call that creative thinking! Hey, that's why we pay him the big bucks!

Ah, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!
Ah, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! (Echo, echo, echo.)

Pete Shumlin, close your mouth before the flies fly in. You shoulda seen this comin'!



Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Dear God,

Hey! Nobody called to say "Happy Birthday!" to me. I've been offering up my prayers here on Are You There, God? It's Me, Fake-Rob Williams for two years plus five days now—ever since October 26, 2007.

Actually, I expected more from my co-workers. And, to be honest, they sorta kinda remembered my birthday. They spent the last few weeks drawing up lots and lots of lists about how they were going to celebrate my birthday. They identified experts to help them celebrate my birthday. They chose silly hats and assigned budgets for candles, cake, and ice cream. They devised methodologies and goals and benchmarks. They made a lot of photocopies of everything they wrote down. They even officially chose which song to sing. (As if they weren't going to sing "Happy Birthday to You" all a long. But, hey, it's important to be methodical and write all this stuff down, so they wrote it down, and got credit from the Department of Public Service for doing so.) There were, like, 80 things they promised to do!

But then my birthday whizzed by and I didn't hear a thing from anybody about it. And there was nothing … NOTHING … that I or the DPS or the state of Vermont could do about it.

Lists and promises don't count for much, I guess.

Lord, speaking of lists and promises that don't count for much, did you hear that a legislative report on our progress addressing the 80 areas of concern identified in last fall's independent assessment of Vermont Yankee's future reliability has sharply faulted us for a lack of progress?

What could those legislators possibly be talking about? Just like with my birthday plans, we're being methodical. We're making lists, identifying experts, choosing dunce hats, assigning budgets for candles, cake, and ice cream, and devising methodologies, goals, and benchmarks. Our Xerox machine is going, like, 24 hours a day! The Rutland Herald even quoted Stephen Wark of the DPS as saying that "It appears that Vermont Yankee is on track to have a plan on how to resolve the problems by the end of this year." (By which, to parse the truth out of that sentence, he means that we are on track to have a plan by the end of this year, and that plan will likely get us our certificate of public good, and then we will set out to resolve the identified problems by 2012, but if we don't solve any or all of them there won't be a hell of a lot anyone can do about it.)

So I guess this is a trust issue. The DPS must give us the certificate of public good based on our many diverse lists, and not on any actual accomplishments. Then the people of Vermont and neighboring New Hampshire and Massachusetts must hope that we'll actually do what our lists have indicated we will do. And, yes, we haven't always lived up to our promises. For example, we haven't fully funded the decommissioning fund. We also didn't make sure that the uprate didn't increase radiation exposure to the public. And until we got caught not measuring radiation emitted by the dry casks, we never measured that radiation.

But, really, Lord, we are making progress, and on more than one front. Did you see in the Reformer that we're claiming that the decommissioning fund is now only $40 million short? If we're right about that preposterously low-ball estimate, the state of Vermont has nothing to worry about. That's poker money for Entergy CEO J. Wayne Leonard! I'm sure he'd ante up in a pinch.

And what if we never get around to adequately addressing the 80 areas of concern identified in last fall's independent assessment of Vermont Yankee's future reliability? Why, we even have a plan for that! We'll finally have my birthday party! We'll buy the people of Vermont and neighboring New Hampshire and Massachusetts dunce hats and a huge sheet cake!

And I'll eat cake with them.