I’ve noticed a growing number of articles stating that Ireland will eventually have to use nuclear energy. Here’s a timetable of how the whole thing will evolve.
March 2009: Brian Cowen announces that the Government has decided to build a nuclear power station. “Like hell we have,” say the Greens, “if you go ahead with this we’ll pull out of the coalition”. “Go ahead,” says Brian, “we’ve a big enough majority without you”. “Seriously?” gasp the Greens, “well, hang on, we’ve thought about it, and we’ve decided it would be better if we stayed in power with you to monitor things from the inside”. “Thought you might,” mutters Brian.
April 2009: 25 politicians from all parties go on a fact-finding mission to Bali. Bali does not in fact have nuclear power, but it does have a very nice beach, and it is prettier than Sellafield.
May 2009: A committee decides in secret where the nuclear plant will be built. The secret is so well kept that a local councillor is able to buy the site from an unsuspecting farmer for €20,000. The following day he sells it to the Government for €2 million.
May 2009 but later the same day: the site of the plant is revealed to be in the Taoiseach’s home town of Clara. “It is in its shite,” says Brian, and the plans are re-thought (though the councillor is still paid for the site, as a deal is a deal). Venue after venue is rejected for the very good reason that a sitting TD lives there (though nuclear power is perfectly safe, they keep telling us). It is eventually agreed to build it on the Hill of Tara, to piss off the tree-huggers.
October 2009 (well, the Dáil was on holiday): The contract to run the power station is awarded to a company that was formed just two days earlier. The businessman who owns it promptly sells the contract at a profit of €500 million and fecks off abroad as a tax exile, returning every now and again briefly to chide us over what a balls we’re making of his ‘beloved’ country. The new owners, EirNuke, have no experience of running a nuclear power station, as they operate a ferris wheel at Funderland, but they reckon “you push a button, the thing starts up, how hard can it be?”.
The Nuclear Regulator's Logo
November 2009: A Nuclear Regulator is appointed to oversee the running of the industry. It is expected that he will be well able to regulate things, as he too once worked at Funderland (in fact, working for a while with the new owners). His salary is half a million, plus a bonus payable in any year in which the number of nuclear accidents is less than thirty.
October 2024 (yeah, there were protests & stuff, the army had to be called in): The power stations starts producing electricity in a blaze of hype. Such a great job has been done by the PR people that 40 per cent of the country switch to nuclear power the first day. As this leaves many of ESB’s workers with nothing to do, their Union secures a pay rise for them, as their day now seems longer.
October 2024 at 5.30 p.m.: The country is plunged into darkness as the EirNuke lads leaving the station turned off all the switches, since this is what they always did when they were leaving Funderland.
January 2025: The price of oil rises by 10 dollars a barrel. Although nuclear power is supposed to be in competition to oil, the Regulator grants a 12% price increase to EirNuke.
February 2025: The price of oil falls by 35 dollars a barrel. The Regulator grants a 19% price increase to EirNuke.
March 2025: The bottom falls out of nuclear power, literally. Because the building was built by a cowboy building firm whose tender arrived, not in writing but in used notes, large cracks appear, and the generator falls out through the bottom and into the ground, where it starts to leak. It turns out that the Regulator knew about the dodgy builder, so he is forced to resign with a large hand-out and a full pension.
April 2025: Finance Minister Brian Lenihan (What? Still? Look, don’t ask me, they kept getting 4% in the opinion polls and then when an election would come the public would go “ah, sure, they’re not the worst”) decides to do what was done for the Banks and the Catholic Church, and says that the Government will take the hit for any compensation claims. Since the whole world could potentially be effected this is likely to be a crippling bill for us to face.
All's well that ends well
April 2025 still: Fortunately not. It turns out that EirNuke hadn’t been using uranium at all, the generator had been run on red diesel. A spokesman for EirNuke said “red diesel is much cheaper, all you’ve to do is pretend you’re buying it for a tractor and besides, we heard that uranium stuff is dangerous“.
May 2025: The Government decides to scrap nuclear power. Their alternative involves building a giant magnifying glass, and holding it over the country when the sun comes out. Sure what could go wrong?