The campaign to win over the hearts and minds of Vermonters about nuclear energy has officially begun, and from the look of things, it's shaping up to be a nuclear winter for the record books. This week, reps from 15 labor unions converged on the Statehouse to plead their cases to lawmakers for relicensing Vermont's only nuke plant and its 650 or so dues-paying jobs. Because, unless the Vermont Legislature gives the Vernon facility its statutorily required okey-dokey to keep the radioactive fires burning for another two decades, New England's oldest (and, arguably, most trouble-plagued) reactor will be mothballed in 2012, and we'll all be Tivoing and Tweeting by candlelight. Or so I'm told.
But clearly, Entergy Nuclear Vermont doesn't intend to go down without a fight. Shortly before Christmas, while windmill-tilters such as myself were enjoying the spoils of all that controlled fission, with our robotic reindeer and inflatable lawn Santas, ENV was rolling out its pro-nuclear website, "I Am Vermont Yankee." There, Vermonters can read personal, firsthand testimonials from the hardworking peeps who keep your Wii games a-Wii-ing, your dialysis pumps a-pumping and the Connecticut River waters a-flowing at a tepid 92 degrees*. (*Disclaimer: Actual river temperatures may vary. Consult your thermometer.)
Not to be out-Vermonted by the hardhat-wearing, flannel-bedecked folks at VY (read: "real Vermonters"), Vermont Yankee's snarkiest critic, Fake Rob Williams — so named for the Entergy spokesperson of the same name — this week unveiled his own take on the site, dubbed "I Love Vermont Yankee." There, Fake Robbie takes the piss out of iamvy.com for — perish the thought! — NOT posting his disparaging observations about Vermont Yankee's claims of being "safe, clean and reliable," such as the one about VY's stoned control-room operator, or the VY guard who shot himself in the foot. Plus, "I Love Vermont Yankee" also features its own pix of "pretty people you can trust," such as Systems Engineer Farrah Fawcett, Environmental Specialist Brad Pitt and State Regulatory Engineer Jude Law.
Ah, satire. It warms the cockles better than a reactor-vessel steam line...