Monday, May 22, 2006

Trojan Imploded

I woke up early yesterday morning and watched the big Trojan cooling tower implosion on TV. Yay!

A striking thing about the media coverage was how the everyone (including interviewees) tip-toed around whether the plant was a good or a bad thing. Instead they all just talked about how cool the implosion was, and referred to it simply as a generic "historic event", the "end of a local landmark", and so forth. Which isn't that surprising, I guess, and you have to admit it was a really cool implosion. There's no doubt about that. But it's also obvious that -- however you feel about nuclear power in general -- this particular plant was a complete economic debacle, and a millstone around the necks of PGE ratepayers. The thing hasn't operated in 13 years, and it's still costing us piles of money. But it isn't nice to talk about the huge price tag we're still saddled with, apparently, so nobody does.

I'm surprised that I've only seen a handful of international stories about the implosion, like this one from Australia's Adelaide Advertiser. And nobody outside the region seems to have picked up on the (supposed) Homer Simpson angle. I would've thought at least the BBC would've made a big deal about that. Oh, well. No biggie.

The Washington Post's article calls the implosion "ironic", since supposedly this country's going to get a fresh crop of shiny, new and improved nuclear reactors, Real Soon Now. The reactor industry's been saying this for the last couple of decades, and as yet the promised Atomic Wonderland hasn't materialized. They keep telling us that these hypothetical new reactors would be absolutely, positively safe and clean, and even economical, and maybe that's all true. But in the past the nuclear power lobby has earned itself a poor reputation, and a well-deserved one. They've always overpromised and underdelivered, and lied about it, and covered up their mistakes, and tried to intimidate their critics, and I'm not prepared to ignore their bad rep just because they now insist they've changed their ways. And they still don't have anywhere to put their nuclear waste, let's not forget that inconvenient little detail.

However, the big question right now is how long until we get cheesy TV movies exploiting the implosion footage. I bet we'll see this on the SciFi Channel before too long. I can see it now: Despite all the assurances to the contrary, the implosion releases radiation into the nearby forests, causing a banana slug to mutate and grow to enormous size. Then of course it slimes its way to Portland and attacks the city, until our heroes do it in with the one local product slugs love more than anything: Beer!

Mmm... Beer....


No comments :