BY SUSIE DAY | Last December, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and other state officials announced that the Indian Point nuclear power plant, 35 miles north of New York City, should be shut down.
They almost spoiled your Christmas. Giant blinking reindeer, strings of electric bulbs, and amplified Brenda Lee recordings could have been ripped from your power grid, as these plutonium-bashing thugs filed papers citing more than 30 reasons why Indian Point should be denied a new 20-year license.
Some of these "reasons" included repeated radioactive leaks and 9/11 Commission reports that al Qaeda has contemplated attacking nuclear plants with aircraft. Said Governor Spitzer: "We should close Indian Point as soon as there is sufficient replacement power available, and in the interim insist that all environmental, safety, and security issues are fully evaluated and addressed..."
In short: "Blah-Blah-Blah, my name is Governor Karen Silkwood and I am a 1970s-throwback, bent on replacing your clean, efficient energy source with inept, hippy-driven solar- and wind-power that will force you to give up your guiltless consumerism and admit that you co-exist interdependently with the Third World, which has heretofore been enslaved for your benefit."
If these nuclear over-reactors can shut down Indian Point, they can shut down every nuclear plant in the country! Then the nuclear arms industry! Then the oil companies! Pretty soon you will be bartering your hard-earned iPod for a handful of granola! Why aren't you informing yourself, idiot?
QUESTION: Is it true that nuclear energy produces no greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming?
ANSWER: Fantastically true. Greenhouse gasses are emitted only when other, fossil fuel-burning power plants are used to mine, refine, and enrich uranium that runs nuclear plants. But rest assured, your nuclear-powered vegomatic, snow blower, or dialysis machine are totally enviro-friendly! Except, of course, for the CO2 emissions that arise when coal-burning plants process and transport the nuclear fuel spent by running your appliances. But cheer up: there are no greenhouse gasses emerging from the 1,500 tons of nuclear waste now stored at Indian Point.
Q: Nuclear waste? Like the radioactive tritium and strontium-90 that have seeped into the groundwater and reached the Hudson River? I've heard that these wastes are not exactly antioxidants. In fact, as a mammal, I worry about cancer.
A: Cancer, schmancer: relax and enjoy the 21st century, bub. Just think - when you do get cancer, how will you treat it? With radiation! And, in the event of a total meltdown, nuclear radiation can eradicate many embarrassing social problems, such as poverty, racism, and dandruff - for all 20 million people within a 50-mile radius! It's also low-carb and fat-free! Yes, nuclear radiation is bad only when possessed by terrorists like Osama bin Laden or Karen Silkwood.
Q: Speaking of terrorism, didn't two of the hijacked planes on September 11 fly over or near Indian Point? Wouldn't closing Indian Point be a good way to combat terrorism? And who is this Karen Silkwood you keep mentioning?
A: "Closing" sounds so negative. Real Americans prefer to fight terror the positive way, with xenophobia. Racial profiling and detaining Arabs, Muslims, and people of color make us feel good about ourselves! Conversely, Karen Silkwood, whistle-blower at a nuclear plant in Oklahoma, makes us feel just awful.
Q: Oh, I loved Meryl Streep in that movie! Ms. Silkwood was no friend of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, yet even the NRC says the Indian Point 2 reactor has the 6th worst safety record of the 103 reactors in the country. In the event of a nuclear disaster, would there be a way to evacuate all 20 million of us?
A: No problem. Just take the A Train to West Fourth Street, change to the uptown F Train to Rockefeller Center, get out and run around screaming and smashing store windows to obtain survival gear, then hop the M-5 bus, clutching your newly acquired German luger and cases of Evian water, back downtown, where you push and bite your way through a panic-stricken mob of 1,655,000 people, until you are able to punch a nun, steal her car, and drive 4.7 miles west into New Jersey, where you sit immobile for 52 minutes on the turnpike, amid thousands of stalled, honking motorists, staring at the sun glowing ever paler in the radioactive haze, then stagger out of your stolen vehicle toward the Paramus Mall, where you consume 8 quarter-pounders with cheese at the McDonald's there. You can't miss it! Unless, of course, you're forced off the road and die in a mysterious accident, like Karen Silkwood.
Q: I am a college-educated, middle class person. Should I allow my "PC" guilt to prevent me from demanding that Indian Point be closed, knowing that working class people would lose their jobs?
A: Absolutely. Nuclear power plants are owned by caring multinational entities that NEVER lay off workers, unless they're forced to by privileged, give-peace-a-chance snobs such as yourself. Besides, it is a scientific fact that working class people like Homer Simpson and Karen Silkwood are impervious to nuclear radiation.
Q: I've read that Indian Point employees have complained of weak training standards, rigged qualification tests, and forced overtime. Some even fear retribution if they raise safety concerns.
A: Give us those people's names. We're going to lay them off.
Q: Wouldn't antinuclear activism cut into my social schedule? Maybe get me on a government list somewhere?
Q: Done! You've convinced me how wrong I've been about nuclear power! I'll never question corporate greed again.
A: Perfect. Now, when I snap my fingers, you'll remember nothing of this.
Q: Thanks! I can't wait to forget about Karen Silkwood.