Daily Archives: December 29, 2014

Closing time

Shoutout to my favorite one-hit wonder of all time…

So gather up your jackets, move it to the exits

I hope you have found a friend.

Closing time

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end

And here we are, on The Last Day of Vermont Yankee. Or, as @GovPeterShumlin put it:

Yeah, well, as if.

Problem: today is not “the end of years of controversy.” It is, in the questionably immortal words of Semisonic, “some other beginning’s end.”

What ends today is the productive phase of Vermont Yankee’s history. What begins is the long slow wait for decommissioning. The chances of an accident will diminish, but we’ll still have a whole lot of hyper-toxic stuff SAFSTOR’d on the banks of the Connecticut River.

Look at it this way. The “lifespan” of Vermont Yankee was 42 years. The “deathspan,” if I may coin a word, will be AT LEAST 30 years. That’s the optimistic forecast for decommissioning. And that’s heavily dependent on the always-reliable, ha ha, stock market: Entergy’s decommissioning fund sits at $665 million, a little more than half the estimated cost of decom. Entergy says it won’t start decom until the fund grows to cover the entire (estimated) $1.24 billion price tag.

But hey, the markets always go up, right?

The way Entergy puts it, they’re doing us a big fat favor by planning the decom for the 2040s. By federal standards, they don’t have to do it until 2075.

Sixty years away.

In that scenario, the “deathspan” of the plant will have been 50% longer than the lifespan.

That’s the problem with nuclear energy. I’m not necessarily against nukes; if managed correctly, they do provide reliable carbon-free power. But there’s that long, lingering afterlife — and corporate America has never shown much dedication to long-term responsibilities.

Nor has public America, for that matter; we have yet to devise a long-term storage plan for all that nuclear waste.

Anyway, I suppose @GovPeterShumlin is only doing what a governor has to do: putting the best face on a decidedly mixed reality.

But I’d be very surprised if this was, in fact, “the end of controversy.”

And in the words of Semisonic, wherever they are today:

I know who I want to take me home,

and it ain’t Entergy.

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BREAKING — Bernie Sanders Announces A Timetable For An Announzzzzzzzz…..

One of the things that makes me long for a parliamentary democracy is the blessed briefness of election seasons. Call an election, a couple months later you’re done.

America, on the other hand, suffers a severe case of Campaign Bloat, especially in the Presidential sweepstakes. I may be a politics nerdboy, but I couldn’t be more bored by the early maneuverings of would-be candidates and their dutiful swings through Iowa, New Hampshire, and other self-appointed bellwethers of national opinion.

The Collegiate Bernie. (From his own website.)

The Collegiate Bernie. (From his own website.)

Even the endless travels of our own Bernie Sanders bore me. I don’t care where he’s eating rubber chicken and giving the same speech he’s been giving throughout his career. I feel no desire to keep up with Seven Days’ attempt at journalistically justifiable clickbait, “Bernie Beat.”

And I don’t care about the latest Hot News (came out during my Xmas vacay), as reported by Dave “The Hat” Gram:

SANDERS: I’LL DECIDE ON PRESIDENTIAL RUN BY MARCH

“I don’t want to do it unless I can do it well,” he told The Associated Press. “I don’t want to do it unless we can win this thing.”

Yuh-huh. Well, if that’s the deciding factor, I think the decision is all but made. Especially when…

Sanders said he is weighing whether to run as an independent, as he has done in Vermont, or as a Democrat.

Oh yeah, running as an independent. That’ll work.

Now look, I appreciate Bernie’s dedication to his role as a progressive firebrand. I like the fact that he talks about issues in a way that connects with working Americans, unlike many of us who are too darn academic and literary for our own good. But he will never be a serious candidate for president.

He can be a useful part of a presidential campaign, focusing on issues and themes that “mainstream” Democrats often avoid. Roughly speaking, he’s the Ron Paul of the left: a true believer who attracts attention through the raw power of ideas boldly expressed.

As such, I’d welcome his candidacy, if only as a foil for Hillary Clinton. Which is about all he could reasonably hope to be.

Now, Elizabeth Warren, she’d have a chance. But in her absence, sure, Bernie, take a rip. Just don’t expect me to pay attention to your three-month-long Final Decision Tour. And don’t expect me to believe your insistence that you’d only be in it if you can win.