January 15th, 2010

The Penultimate Tipping Point On The Drive To Close Vermont Yankee Was Reached On January 14, In The Year Of Our Lord 2010

by Philip Baruth

Anyone who doesn’t believe that Heaven itself wants Vermont Yankee shuttered in 2012 just hasn’t been paying careful attention. Let’s just quickly run over some recent developments. Five Democrats are running hard for Governor; over the past five years, anti-Yankee activists have slowly made the Democratic primary all but unnavigable for anyone who refuses to commit to decommissioning.

The anti-VY walkers reached Montpelier yesterday. Walker photos by David Shaw.

It gets better. Just in the last several days, Entergy the State about the extent and condition of its underground tritium piping, just as a horde of anti-VY activists completed their statewide march on Montpelier.

Maybe best of all, Jim Douglas, the man from Entergy himself, now has no alternative but to attack the Louisiana-based corporation for breaches of truth that have clear consequences for the health and safety of Vermonters.

And why does Douglas have no alternative now?

Because after demolishing the crumbling Crown Point bridge in an eerie parody of his ordinary ribbon-cutting ceremonies, Douglas can’t allow himself to take the fall for a major safety breach at a crumbling nuclear plant. No one wants disintegrating infrastructure as their signature legacy.

And while Douglas isn’t on the ballot this time out, his Lieutenant Governor most certainly is, and Dubie will have to answer for the Administration’s eight long years of shielding Yankee from real scrutiny.

Which is to say that Douglas knows Dubie could jelly-leg on the Yankee issue at any moment. Because people are paying attention, suddenly.

The scene at the State House.

All of which leads inexorably to today’s headline in the Free Press: “State Rips Vermont Yankee.” Which was the best Douglas could have hoped for, really. The worst would have been something along the lines of “Entergy Admits Misleading State; Douglas Hastily Disavows Former Ally.”

But as we wrote in the post below, all of this has the vertiginous feel of tipping point, as though we’re all falling into a new era suddenly: post-Douglas, post-Yankee, a genuinely twenty-first century era where we’re not dependent on slide-rule nuclear technology from the 1950’s to power our almost unbelievably powerful desktop computers.

If the collapse of the cooling tower was the First Tipping Point on the Yankee issue, this past week unquestionably marked the Second.

And make no mistake: the Third is coming.

Late Update, 1:55 pm:

And right on schedule, all sorts of election-year hell is now breaking loose for Entergy: Peter Welch and Bernie Sanders are suddenly focused on the issue, and the Shumlin/Shap tag-team has announced the re-empaneling of the same Vertical Audit oversight team that was fed a dose of bogus information on tritium piping during the original investigation.

Popcorn, please.