PORTLAND, OR — Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s candid remarks from earlier today are causing some consternation among energy ratepayers in his state. Inslee made the remarks in an informal press conference held immediately after he attended a briefing from the U.S. Energy Department.
“I’m like most of you,” Inslee is reported to have said. “I usually don’t have the nuclear spill on my mind when I go through my daily routine. It’s sort of like Fukushima — every now and again someone mentions Hanford, and I remember that we’re fucked.”
“This place was made so that we could manufacture the means to destroy the world,” says Inslee. “And, in an ironic way, Hanford is fulfilling its purpose all too well.”
The Hanford site is a mostly-decommissioned nuclear weapons production facility, located on the Columbia River in the state of Washington. It was created in 1943, as part of the Manhattan Project, and was instrumental during the Cold War with both the Philadelphia Experiment and the Roswell Incident.
“But really, what good does it do to dwell?,” asks Inslee. “It would ruin my day, and I probably wouldn’t have the will to do anything productive, because it would all seem pretty futile. I mean, this stuff is leaking into the soil. And into the water. And it has been for a long, long time. We know about it. Don’t mistake our silence for ignorance.”
“That doesn’t mean we won’t do anything about it,” Inslee says, projecting a confident demeanor. “Here’s the problem: before we bury this nuclear waste — out of sight, out of mind! — we have to encase it in something that theoretically won’t ever breach, won’t ever have a problem. The only problem with that is that, in practice, the case always breaches.”
“The solution, then, is to build a case around the case. And when that case breaches, we build a case around that case.”
“It doesn’t really keep nuclear waste out of our soil or water. We can’t really ‘do’ that,” argues Inslee, making quotation marks with his fingers. “But it does create a lot of jobs, while giving us an opportunity to do something.”
Slow-motion nuclear train wrecks like the Hanford site foster a strange political scenario wherein there is consensus among the ruling class. Both Democrats and Republicans agree that irradiating the planet is probably a bad idea.
Liberals are against irradiation of the planet because Al Gore told them to be, and because of some cute photos of fuzzy animals that they were shown at a mink steak cocktail fundraiser.
Conservatives are against irradiation of the planet because that would essentially mean that free energy would be floating everywhere, gutting utility profits in the middle of a recession.
Unfortunately, neither party is as powerful as the unified force of the consumers, speaking through the democratic voice of The Market. And the consumers have overwhelmingly said that they want electricity to come pouring into their houses twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week — enough to power dozens of pieces of the most sophisticated consumer electronics ever produced in human history… simultaneously. In every. single. home.
Sheen Flock, of the Nuclear Anti-Defamation Association, points out that “Hanford is a relic of World War II and Cold War weapons production. It’s not fair to compare the Hanford site to clean, safe, green nuclear energy. Not all nuclear waste is the same.”
“Nuclear power accounts for 20% of our energy in the United States,” rebuts Steven Lewis, anti-nuclear activist who opposes human progress. “And despite disaster after disaster, there’s renewed push to expand that market. It’s driven by greed, yes, but also by demand. We can’t kid ourselves — we can’t keep living this unsustainable lifestyle, or we’re going to kill ourselves off.”
Asked for specific advice on what consumers should do to influence The Market, Lewis says: “I’d advise buying stock in iodine.”