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power plant

Springfield Nuclear Power Plant

The Simpsons business
Springfield Nuclear Power Plant
Business type Nuclear Power Plant
Owner C. Montgomery Burns
Employee(s) Waylon Smithers
Homer Jay Simpson
Lenny Leonard
Carl Carlson
Location 100 Industrial Way
First appearance "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire"

Springfield Nuclear Power Plant is a fictional nuclear power plant in the television animated cartoon series The Simpsons. The plant, owned by Charles Montgomery Burns, is located at 100 Industrial Way. The plant has a monopoly on the city of Springfield's energy supply, and the carelessness of Mr. Burns and the plant's employees often endangers the residents and natural environment of Springfield.

Profile

The plant, the core of which is a Fissionator 1952 Slow-Fission Reactor, is poor and badly maintained, largely due to owner Montgomery Burns' negligence, especially considering having over 342 violations and bringing the plant up to code would cost $56 million. The plant itself has come close to a meltdown several times. Its safety record is appalling, with various episodes showing luminous rats in the bowels of the building, the cooling towers release green radioactive smoke and gases from them (although they are only supposed to release steam), pipes and drums leaking radioactive waste, the disposal of waste in a children's playground, plutonium used as a paperweight, cracked cooling towers (fixed in episode 204 using a piece of chewing gum), skeletons in the basement, dangerously high Geiger counter readings around the perimeter of the plant, flashing red Alert signs being ignored by employees, the creation of a mutant subspecies of three-eyed fish and even a giant spider. In one episode it was revealed that the Emergency Exits are simply painted on. In the opening credits glowing rod of plutonium is trapped in Homer's overalls and later disposed of in the street.

The design and folly of Springfield Nuclear Power Plant is often rumoured to be based on the real life Trojan Nuclear Power Plant near Matt Groening's home town of Portland, Oregon, or the Hanford Site in southeastern Washington. However, Antonia Coffman, Groening's publicist, has said that the Springfield plant's design is generic and that "the Springfield Nuclear Power plant was not based on the Trojan Plant or any other power plant in the country. Trojan Nuclear Power Plant opened in 1976 and was infamous for its poor construction and maintenance, resulting in steam generator leaks which ultimately caused the plant to close in 1993 (although other plants replaced theirs). The cooling tower of the Trojan nuclear power plant was finally demolished on May 21, 2006.

Employees and associates

Main employees

  • Charles Montgomery "Monty" Burns, Wealthy, real owner and CEO of the power plant.
  • Waylon Smithers, Jr., is Montgomery Burns's Personal Assistant and adoring henchman. While he appears to de facto run much of the plant's day-to-day administration, his main job is tending to Mr. Burns, and often trying to talk him out of his more outrageous schemes. Smithers is deemed by most to be homosexual, as this has been proven within several episodes of the series thus far. Mr. Burns doesn't know that Smithers' true feelings for him are quite strong. He has won pretty much every single employee of the month award except once, when Homer received the award after he averted a nuclear meltdown through luck.
  • Homer Jay Simpson, currently works in Sector 7-G as the Safety Inspector and has been with the company in some capacity since the birth of his first child Bart. He mostly works in a control room sitting in front of a T-437 Safety Command Console, but has little idea how to operate it (in one episode he was replaced by a chicken pecking at the buttons, and in another, by a brick tied with a rope to a lever on Homer's control panel). Often he just reclines in his chair, snoozing or eating donuts. Homer was appointed the safety inspector by Mr. Burns in season one after he lost his job as the plant's technical supervisor for driving an electric car into a steam pipe while waving to Bart, who is on a field trip. He frequently takes "leaves of absence" from (or flat-out quits) his job whenever something interesting comes up. This typically goes either unnoticed or without consequence by his superiors (although in one episode Homer claims he can't go back - "not the way I quit"). Smithers claims in "See Homer Run" that Homer pays a homeless man to fill in for him. Homer even had Mr. Burns fill in for him when he decided to cut out early though Mr. Burns pretty much did the same thing Homer does - sit back and relax. Although the safety of the plant—and Springfield—has been imperiled more than once on Homer's watch, he still keeps his job. Depictions of Homer's role in the plant vary. An early episode showed the safety job to be both an important job and Homer's ambition, and in You Only Move Twice, he is sought as the only senior employee apart from Burns and Smithers, suggesting a very flat hierarchy. In other depictions, Homer is the lowest-ranking person in the power plant org chart, subordinate to an Inanimate Carbon Rod, and additionally holds a record for longest time spent in an entry-level position. Homer is well known for his incompetence and stupidity in working at the plant, but various episodes suggest most of the other employees are just as bad: screaming and panicking at everything from meltdown alerts to fire drills; holding cockfights and chess matches instead of working; beating one another with chairs, drinking heavily, or simply crying at their desks; engaging in "Nap Time"; and even removing emergency procedure posters to make into get-well-soon cards. At one point he used an endangered manatee to cover for him eventually causing it to become severely dehydrated. One-time legal owner of Springfield Nuclear Power Plant after freeing the previous owner, Canary M. Burns from his cage. Homer, after being made the owner by Mr Burns, promptly fired him.
  • Carl Carlson, along with Lenny, is not just Homer's co-worker but one of his best friends since childhood, and he likes to call himself "an urban Lenny." He is black and handsome, a Buddhist with a master's degree in Nuclear Physics, fond of bowling and having a drink at Moe's. But these are the only definitive details given. He has stated in passing that he has a family and that he's Homer's supervisor, but he mostly keeps things to himself due to his uncontrollably abrasive tongue. Lenny and Carl have also been shown to be inept and lazy at times, joining Homer in log-rolling on drums of nuclear waste.
  • Lenford "Lenny" Leonard, the nasal-voiced friend and co-worker of Homer. A Chicago native, he is unmarried, a Buddhist, often described as plain-looking, although sometimes also seen as very attractive (and featured in a photo-spread in the New Yorker), and though possessing a master's degree, he's undeniably dumb. His living arrangements have included a house that is literally falling apart around him and a beautifully furnished apartment that shares a glass wall with a jai alai court. When Homer lied to his family that Lenny was sick, Marge, Bart, and Lisa all expressed great distress. His relationship with Carl is complicated. Lifelong friends, Lenny clearly adores Carl. Carl is the dominant partner and generally regards Lenny coolly. They are nonetheless constant companions. Lenny and Carl have also been shown to be inept and lazy at times, joining Homer in log-rolling on drums of nuclear waste.
  • Charlie, the bespectacled Dangerous Emissions Supervisor. Often quiet and working in the background, he is a known militiaman and can frequently be found at Moe's Tavern after hours. Once he landed a pencil in Homer Simpson's butt crack, thus stopping Homer's train of thought ("Dental Plan! Lisa needs braces!"), and used his sister's prosthetic leg as a softball bat after he joined the power plant's team in the episode "Homer at the Bat". He was once sent to Morocco via a tube in Mr. Burns' office after requesting a real emergency exit following an accident involving dangerous radioactive chemicals (the resolution of which was never explained).
  • Crusher and LowBlow, hired goons.

Recurring characters

  • Eugene Fisk, Homer's supervisor, formerly his assistant.

One time employees

  • Frank "Grimey" Grimes, originally hired as executive vice-president and immediately replaced by a dog, he was assigned to Sector 7G. As a self-made man who suffered through the worst of life's obstacles, he was naturally outraged at Homer's countless faults, both professional and personal, and his enormous success in spite of them (becoming an astronaut, winning a Grammy, etc.). Attempts by both sides to "deal with" their differences only exacerbated the situation, resulting in Grimes's freakish and untimely death by electrocution. He fathered a son (Frank Grimes, Jr.) who tried to kill Homer to avenge the death of his father.
  • Mindy Simmons, an attractive young woman, was the first of a few female employees hired under equal opportunity statute (guest-voiced by Michelle Pfeiffer). She has a degree in Engineering, and owns a motorcycle. On a trip to promote nuclear power in Capital City, she and Homer nearly had an affair. Sometime after Homer's decision not to pursue a relationship, Mindy was dismissed from the plant due to alcohol abuse.
  • Jack Marley, a long-time employee who was retired against his will. He is still seen around town and is often on juries.
  • Unnamed supervisor, Homer claims he is one of the guys he never sees at work.
  • Unnamed supervisor, the father of Sherri and Terri, classmates of Homer Simpson's son Bart.
  • Carol, member of payroll.
  • Mike, married member of shipping. Burns thought he and Carol were going to hook up.
  • Ms. Finch, a woman employee who is one of the people Homer sees at the plant while trying to find a potential suitor for Selma in the episode "Principal Charming".
  • Tibor, Homer's co-worker who eventually becomes his supervisor, and also whom Homer thanked for having "saved my (his) butt." He was used as a scapegoat for other employees' mistakes since he was also known as "the guy who doesn't speak any English", and is an unseen character.
  • Zutroy, the dangerous emissions supervisor hired when Charlie was temporarily disposed of. He is "American as apple pie", according to Burns.
  • Canary M. Burns, canary, the one-time legal owner of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant for reasons of prosecutory evasion by the factory owner Montgomery Burns. Last seen en route to the Canary Islands.
  • Unknown, Doberman, the heroic dog made executive vice-president in lieu of previous choice, Frank Grimes in lieu of previous choice, Waylon Smithers.
  • Queenie, chicken, a temporary replacement for Homer, deceased and consumed by Homer.
  • Stuart, a duck who was found to be working at the plant, (mainly pulling trailers) part of the 'slave labour' workforce that also included a Brazilian soccer team. Mr Burns mentioned in the episode that although he would hire a woman, he would not change his hiring policies, apparently including ducks.
  • Blinky, three-eyed fish, inadvertent resultant of the power plant's radioactive output and some-time mascot. Actually, one of many so "evolved" creatures found in Springfield's waters.
  • Inanimate Carbon Rod, named the plant's "Worker of the Week" after all others but prior to Homer. It becomes famous for saving the spaceship Homer was on with Buzz Aldrin in Deep Space Homer, although Homer suggested its use to close a faulty opening. For its heroism, the rod was named Time magazine's Man of the Year. According to the SNPP flowchart, the rod out-ranks Homer.
  • Bernie, plant employee assigned with Homer and another unnamed employee to watch a bee contained in a jar in the basement during a plant inspection.
  • Unknown, dog, trained to abort the core destruct sequence whenever Homer pushes the button while napping.
  • Kathy, appearing almost identical to Mr. Burns, works in personnel. Her relationship to Burns is unknown.
  • Marge Simpson, works there when she and Homer required money to fix a crack in their home's foundation. On her Résumé she is listed as working for the Jimmy Carter administration, chauffeur, large animal currator, cook, speaker of Swahili, and according to Waylon Smithers inventor of the machine she'd be working with and writer of "that song" by Muddy Waters.
  • Bart Simpson, having been promoted to "man of the house" by Homer in the episode "Missionary: Impossible", takes Homer's job at the plant while Homer becomes a missionary in Micronesia, in order to escape a mob from the PBS network for pretending to pledge a donation of $10,000. While working, Burns comes in criticizing Homer's bad record, and pokes Bart with a stick, much to Bart's annoyance. Bart tries to tell that he's not Homer, but Burns refuses to listen and continues poking him for "the next hour or so".
  • Smitty, An unknown co-worker who Homer tells to "safen up" in the episode "Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk".
  • The power plant is also the work place of many robots which have emotions and feelings. Homer had to fire forty-seven robots when he became owner of the plant and had to watch them all cry.
  • An entire unseen Brazilian Soccer Team implied to be working for the plant in the reactor core, Another example of Monty Burns' unfair hiring policies, Burns justifies making them work by saying "...that plane crashed on MY property!".
  • To win a bet between the Shelbyville Power Plant, Mr. Burns hired professional baseball players to play for SNPP's company softball team. The parentheses indicate the misfortune that the player had.

Related characters and companies

A variety of nuclear regulators, safety inspectors, and immigration agents periodically make visits to the plant.

  • Blue Haired Lawyer, head of Burns expensive team of lawyers, also occasionally appears as lawyer for other characters, such as Roger Myers, Jr. and Bart Simpson.
  • Aristotle "Ari" Amadopolis, the owner of the Shelbyville Nuclear Power Plant. His relationship with Burns resides within the area of competitive mutual respect. He has collaborated with Montgomery Burns on safety measures in the past and been known to meet him in a modest wager. He is based on late Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis.
  • Hans, Fritz, & Horst, the faces of the German consortium that briefly owned the power plant during Burns' temporary retirement.
  • Momma Burns, Monty Burns's 122 year old mother from the deep South. She had an unforgivable affair with President Taft, but her capacities are now so limited she can only dial a telephone and yell.
  • Larry Burns, Monty Burns's illegitimate son. Born in 1940, he has been an all-around failure both with and without the resources his father's station provides. Voiced by and modeled after Rodney Dangerfield, right down to the trademark tie tug.
  • Lily Bancroft, daughter of Monty Burns's Yale classmate Mimsy and mother of his illegitimate son, Larry Burns. She was sent off to be a nun in the South Seas.
  • Waylon Smithers, Sr., the first administrative assistant to Monty Burns and the father of Waylon, Jr.. He died while preventing a nuclear meltdown to save both his son and the town.
  • Frank Grimes, Jr., the illegitimate son of Frank Grimes due to the latter's apparent fondness for prostitutes. He attempted to exact revenge upon Homer Simpson for his father's early death.
  • Rich Texan, once brief owner of the Plant after winning a duel against Mr. Burns, however soon returned it to him once Burns obtained a picture of a smiling child, completing his part of the duel.

Production details

  • A cawing crow is heard in nearly every establishing shot of the power plant; this is parodied in "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bangalore", in which a cow can be heard mooing during an outside shot of the India based power plant.
  • The SNPP maintains a map of the United States indicating the status of all of the various nuclear facilities. Homer's job includes replacing most of the burnt out lightbulbs on the map.
  • The wall that Homer faces in his work station changes between episodes. In some episodes the wall is a window showing reactor piping; in others it is a map of nuclear sites around the country, a solid wall, or a wall with a plaque saying "Don't forget: you're here forever" that has been rearranged by Homer to say "Do it for her" with pictures of Maggie.
  • The plant's condition has actually deteriorated over the last few years. In one early episode, Smithers estimates that it would cost $56 million to bring the plant up to code, while in a later episode the new German owners of the plant discover that the cost has soared to $100 million.
  • According to commentary on a Simpsons' DVD, it's stated that there is an actual Homer Simpson working in a nuclear power plant. It is not sure if this is true since there have been no other sources stating this.
  • There is a real nuclear facility near Preston, United Kingdom called Springfields nuclear fuel production facility.
  • An all-ages music venue in Augusta, Georgia bears the name "Sector 7G."
  • In The Simpsons Hit & Run video game, you can press the 'Vent' button on a reactor, causing radioactive emissions, even though the button says 'Do Not Press!'.
  • The unofficial Simpsons Archive website is named after the power plant.

The future

The episodes "Future-Drama" and "Lisa's Wedding" reveal that the plant is going to eventually upgrade the number of cooling towers (and possibly reactors) from two to at least five, perhaps as a response to the future growth of Springfield or its energy demand.

In Lisa's Wedding, set a decade in the future, we also discover that Lenny and Carl have been promoted to the executive board while Milhouse Van Houten has become a supervisor. The plant is operated mainly by robots but Homer still retains his familiar position at Sector 7G.

It is unknown if these futures are definite, or are merely possibilities as Professor Frink's machine in Future-Drama suggests.

See also

References

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