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Wasserman writes: "A huge proposed bailout of two Chernobyl-in-progress Ohio nukes (plus two old coal burners) would put $20 million directly into the pockets of seven utility executives. Their bankrupt company last year spent $3 million 'lobbying' the legislature."

The Perry Nuclear Power Plant in North Perry, Ohio, at sunset on May 9, 2017. (photo: Tim Warsinskey/The Plain Dealer)
The Perry Nuclear Power Plant in North Perry, Ohio, at sunset on May 9, 2017. (photo: Tim Warsinskey/The Plain Dealer)

Ohio's "Chernobyl Socialism" Would Hand $20 Million to Seven Utility Scammers

By Harvey Wasserman, Reader Supported News

10 June 19


huge proposed bailout of two Chernobyl-in-progress Ohio nukes (plus two old coal burners) would put $20 million directly into the pockets of seven utility executives. Their bankrupt company last year spent $3 million “lobbying” the legislature.

Akron’s bankrupt FirstEnergy (FE) owns the Perry nuke, east of Cleveland, which in 1986 became the first US reactor damaged by an earthquake. Critical pipes and concrete were cracked, as were nearby roads and bridges. A top-level state study showed soon thereafter that evacuation amidst a major accident would be impossible.

FE’s uninsured Davis-Besse nuke, near Toledo, is a 42-year-old Three Mile Island clone. In 2002, boric acid ate through its head, threatening a Chernobyl-scale accident irradiating Toledo, Cleveland, and the Great Lakes. At FE’s request, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has exempted Davis-Besse from vital regulations for flooding, fire protection, earthquake vulnerability, and security. Its radiation shield building is literally crumbling.

In 2003, when nearby power lines sagged onto tree limbs, FirstEnergy blacked out some 50 million people throughout the northeast and well into Canada.

By then, FE had scammed Ohio for some $9 billion in “stranded cost” bailouts. The utility said “open market competition” would lower rates ... after it pocketed the public’s money.

Now FE says its subsidized nukes can’t compete with gas and wind power. It wants $190 million/year or more from all Ohio ratepayers, even though most get zero nuke electricity.

FE first said the money was for “clean air” and “zero emission reactors.” But all nukes emit heat, chemicals, radiation, Carbon 14, and more. Their cooling towers kill birds, their waste hot water kills marine life, their cores (at about 300 degrees Centigrade) heat the planet.

The bailout bill, called HB6, attacks renewable and efficiency programs that have saved Ohio ratepayers billions of dollars and created thousands of jobs. A single sentence in the Ohio Code is blocking some $4 billion in turbine development.

The breezy “North Coast” region along Lake Erie is crisscrossed with transmission lines and good sites near urban consumers. Farmers throughout the flat, fertile agricultural land desperately want the income turbine leases could provide. The new projects would create thousands of construction and maintenance jobs. They would feed Ohio’s manufacturing base, which produces a wide range of wind and solar components. By lowering electric rates, they would restore a competitive position long lost to high electric rates. Indiana, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania all have at least double Ohio’s installed wind capacity. Texas has twenty times more. By 2022, Germany will be totally nuke-free.

Ohio has just been shaken by findings that significant radiation has leaked from a dead uranium plant in southern Ohio, contaminating schools and terrifying local residents.

Like that old “stranded cost” scam, FE’s new bailouts would suck desperately needed capital from Ohio’s faltering industrial base. The reactors are obsolete. The workforce is aging. The nukes will shut anyway … if they don’t blow up first.

FE is really protecting its huge executive salaries. In 2018, it spent $3 million on “lobbying.” Its top seven officers, who bankrupted the company, were collectively paid more than $20,000,000, more than 10% of the proposed bailout:

Charles E. Jones Jr., President & CEO: $9,858,109;

Leila L. Vespoli, EVP, Corporate Strategy, Regulatory Affairs & Chief Legal Officer: $3,801,639;

James F. Pearson, EVP, Finance: $3,840,576;

Donald R. Schneider, President, FE Solutions: $2,343,232;

Steven E. Strah, SVP & CFO: $2,798,523;

Bennett L. Gaines, SVP, Corporate Services & Chief Information Officer: $1,442,149;

Samuel L. Belcher, SVP & President, FE Utilities: $3,004,019.

The Ohio House has already ignored extensive anti-bailout public testimony (see mine at and voted 53-43 to keep those executive handouts soaring.

The bill now moves to the Senate and its gerrymandered GOP majority. Ohio’s corporate-owned governor has assured FE he’ll approve their bailout.

Ohio consumers may then join lawsuits against similar bailouts in New York, New Jersey, and elsewhere. A referendum, which they might well win, is also possible.

Meanwhile, millionaire utility execs everywhere will see if the Buckeye State can be suckered again into bailing out two obsolete, cash-sucking nukes on the brink of catastrophic collapse.

Stay tuned.

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Harvey Wasserman's Green Power & Wellness Show is podcast at; California Solartopia is broadcast at KPFK-Pacifica, 90.7 fm, Los Angeles. His book The People’s Spiral of US History: From Deganawidah to Solartopia will soon be at your social media marketing partner


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-1 # Jim Young 2019-06-10 18:42
An earthquake in Ohio?

Now I understand Darrell Issa's comments a bit better in the video at

Though I have not agreed with a lot of positions Issa took, I greatly appreciate his attention to the problem of storing 90,000 metric tons of spent fuel and waste in inappropriate places (costing us $2.2 million per day to safeguard.

Unlike some, I'm less concerned about making the bankrupt utilities try to pay for all the clean up, which would be fair but unrealistic for what they would have to charge to cover the cost.

It is a disaster waiting to happen and we'd be a lot safer and spend less in the long run if we just bit the bullet and paid what it takes to move the most at risk spent fuel and waste to anywhere safer than some of the places it is now.

Issa was the congressman for the district with San Onofre, so that is an obvious concern for him, but to his, credit he wants places like Ohio to find safer places, too. The Great Lakes are far to valuable a source of fresh water to risk contaminating, though I don't know the specific levels of risk differences between California and Ohio.

The government foot dragging (which Issa tried to change when he was
-15 # BKnowswhitt 2019-06-10 23:53
Wasserman and all the spoiled left wing hating pukes out to back to log cabins and find out how it really was with their wood stoves and labor to just keep the fires going .. would be a good lesson for the lying global warming nuclear power decrying cry babies ..
+1 # Lgfoot 2019-06-15 22:02
You Deniers have finally been exposed for the corrupt crony capitalist enabling world destroying psychos you are, so give it a rest.
+8 # janie1893 2019-06-11 00:46
When all the "Chernobyls" wear out and start to break down, the earth will have a few thousand years of contamination with which to cope. The earth will be fine but will humanity?
+7 # Kootenay Coyote 2019-06-11 08:22
‘Their bankrupt company last year spent $3 million “lobbying” the legislature.’
Bankrupt, yet bribing? Creditors have cause for action here.
+3 # DongiC 2019-06-11 17:31
The depth of corruption in good old Ohio is breath taking. Imagine seven executives spending $3,000,000 lobbying to protect their salaries. How truly pathetic. And, the Ohio voters still elect Republicans. While the nuclear plants decay and the dangers of radiation increase. Something is very wrong here.
+1 # Lgfoot 2019-06-15 22:05
I think it's more like a couple of hundred thousand years, if not million. and no, humanity will be toast.The dumbing down of America probably started in Ohio.
+2 # 2019-06-13 23:31
if the Legislature caves & sells its soul to FirstEnergy, we need to take them to court and follow with a referendum to repeal this outrageous theft.

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