The Wait for the License

by A. Priori

(With no apologies to Clement C. Moore, Henry Livingston, or the thousands who have already parodied the original)


‘Twas the wait for the license,
When all through the site,
Not a module was fitted,
No matter how light.

Work orders were logged
On the systems and boards
For the moment when workers
Would show up in hordes.

The owners and contractors
Eagerly waited
To pour some concrete
That is safety-related.

And I in my trailer,
Hearing no bosses’ words,
Had flipped out my smart phone
To play Angry Birds.

But just as a pig
Was approaching my aim,
A message intruded.
(And ruined the game!)

Got my feet off the desk,
As deft as a whale.
I opened the laptop
And scanned the e-mail.

Deleting the spam
And a virus-emergent,
I opened the one
That the sender marked URGENT.

Attached was a photo,
So I clicked, and then stopped,
Because when I saw it
My jaw nearly dropped:

My boss, and some N.R.C.
Folks I know well,
Grinning and gripping
Our plant’s C.O.L.!

I burst from the trailer
And, filling my lungs,
I guess that I must have been
Speaking in tongues:

“Engineering! Procurement!
Construction!” (Deliria?)
“Inspections! Tests! Analyses!
Acceptance Criteria!

“The paperwork’s done!
We’ve secured our careers!
We’re building!  We’re building!
For the next several years!”

I was incoherent,
But still the word spread,
So it didn’t matter
Just what I had said.

The e-mails and texts
Carried word far and wide,
From break rooms to cigarette
ghettoes outside.

A multitude scrambled
In hallways and lanes,
They pulled on their hardhats
And climbed into cranes.

The resident inspectors?
They also had heard.
They peered at our quality,
But it was assured.

As activity spread,
My heart took a hop:
Could anything happen
To make it all stop?

With the state and the locals
We have good relations;
Our reactor’s design
Has certifications;

The hearings are over,
They aren’t worth a mention;
The licensing board dismissed
Every contention.

The federal courts
Saw our case with abandon:
They found our opponents
Had no leg to stand on.

The supply chain’s intact.
All the workers are clever.
If we couldn’t do this,
Could anyone, ever?

To all our good fortune
I tried to adjust—
When up drove a limo,
With a new coat of dust.

Our CEO stepped out,
With a minion or three,
Presenting a sheet cake
and roaring with glee:

“Everyone gather round!
Let’s all celebrate.
Reactor construction
Will STILL have to wait!

“The nuclear renaissance
Starts here and now.
Create it with vigor—
But first, have some chow.”

We ate and we partied,
And I, an old fogey,
Was on my third plate,
and decidedly logy,

When the boss and his crew
Got back into their ride.
He waved, and his smile
Was just ever so wide.

But he yelled, as the limousine
Turned with a jerk:
“Happy license to all!
And now get back to work!”


A. Priori

Nuclear News
Senior Editor Blake
Shows us his alter ego
(Wow, what a mistake.)

A. Priori’s a poet?
The truth we won’t soften:
He’s been hitting the egg nog
A little too often.


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