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Wasserman writes: "A bought, gerrymandered Ohio Legislature has just handed a much-hated $150 million/year public bailout to two dinosaur nuke reactors primed to explode."

The Perry Nuclear Power plant outside of Cleveland. (photo: FirstEnergy)
The Perry Nuclear Power plant outside of Cleveland. (photo: FirstEnergy)

40 Ways Ohio Now Proposes Nuclear Suicide

By Harvey Wasserman, Reader Supported News

02 August 19


bought, gerrymandered Ohio Legislature has just handed a much-hated $150 million/year public bailout to two dinosaur nuke reactors primed to explode. 

It also bails out two filthy 50-year-old coal burners and guts programs for increased efficiency. 

But a possible repeal referendum could reverse all that – and have a serious impact on the Trumpsters who pushed it – in the 2020 election.

Here are some basics:

  • The 42-year-old Davis-Besse reactor near Toledo and 33-year-old Perry, east of Cleveland, are both dangerously crumbling.

  • Neither can compete with wind, solar, gas, or increased efficiency. 

  • Both would shut immediately in a free market environment.

  • Like all nuke reactors, both emit substantial quantities of heat, radiation, and carbon. 

  • Both threaten the entire North Coast and Great Lakes region with a radioactive apocalypse. 

  • Neither can get private disaster insurance. 

  • Their owner, FirstEnergy (FE) of Akron, is bankrupt.

  • The utility stands to gain some $150,000,000/year at the expense of ALL Ohio electric consumers, not just those in its territory. 

  • FE’s top seven execs are paid roughly $25,000,000/year; CEO Chuck Jones gets $9,500,000. 

  • In 2003, FE blacked out 50,000,000 people.

  • Davis-Besse’s infamous 2002 “hole-in-the-head” came when boric acid ate nearly all the way through the reactor pressure vessel.

  • In 1986 (as the Challenger blew up), Perry became the first US reactor to be damaged by an earthquake; a 4.0 shock recently hit less than 25 miles away.

  • A state-mandated 1986-1987 study showed northern Ohio cannot be evacuated in case of a meltdown … and certainly not amidst an earthquake.

  • Ohio’s North Coast is flat, blown by constant lake-based winds, and crisscrossed with transmission lines and good turbine sites near the cities to be served.

  • Local farmers are desperate for the income the turbines would provide. 

  • $4.2 billion in private capital is poised to pour into the region for wind farms that would create thousands of jobs and lower electric rates. 

  • Turbines in Lake Erie, plus land-based wind and solar farms, enhanced by batteries and efficiency, can provide all of Ohio’s electricity far more cheaply than nukes and/or fossil fuels while creating far more jobs. 

  • But in 2014, with zero basis in health or environmental protection, FE’s bought legislators put into the Ohio Code a setback clause that has killed wind development in the state.

  • Ohio now has far less installed wind capacity than neighboring Indiana, Michigan, New York, or Pennsylvania, which have comparable wind resources but no such setback clause. 

  • Ohio is a national leader in manufacturing wind turbine components, virtually none of which are deployed in Ohio. 

  • Perry & DB have been repeatedly bailed out dating back at least to 1999, when FE scammed a $9 billion “stranded cost” give-away. 

  • It was called a “stranded cost” bailout because FE complained even then that reactors could not compete in an open market.

  • This latest bailout was directly pushed by Trump, at least one of whose co-conspirators personally lobbied key legislators for it.

  • Ohio is roughly 50/50 Republican/Democrat, but the GOP has heavily gerrymandered majorities in both houses of the Legislature. 

  • In 2018, FE targeted a dozen GOP legislative primaries, buying at least 11 bailout votes.

  • This latest bailout bill could not have passed without votes from key corporate Democrats. 

  • A strong statewide grass-roots movement arose to oppose the bailout.

  • An overwhelming majority of testifiers before the Legislature were opposed.

  • A strong majority of the state’s newspapers were also opposed.

  • All were ignored by Democrats and Republicans alike.

  • Efforts are now underway to put a referendum on the fall 2020 ballot.

  • If filed within 90 days, the bailout will be put on hold until the vote.

  • Polls show that a strong majority of Ohioans oppose the bailout.

  • If the bailout is on the 2020 ballot, it could encourage a strong opposition turnout that could hurt Trump and help tip the election in a key swing state.

  • But Trump, FE, and the nuke industry will spend unlimited millions to defeat it.

  • It’s been widely known since at least 2004 that Ohio’s registration rolls and voting procedures are heavily rigged to favor the GOP and its corporate owners.

  • The longer Perry and Davis-Besse operate, the higher the odds they’ll obliterate Toledo, Cleveland, and the entire Great Lakes region. 

  • Neither has private disaster insurance. 

  • FE can’t handle its radioactive wastes, evacuate the region when disaster strikes, or credibly maintain the reactors in their current (deteriorating) state.

Should the referendum get on the ballot, it could help take down Trump and save the region from an apocalyptic catastrophe, as well as economic ruin. Should it fail, the odds on a major nuclear catastrophe along the shores of Lake Erie are too high to contemplate. 

The stakes could not be higher. 

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Harvey Wasserman is co-author of Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience With Atomic Radiation (free online) and Solartopia! Our Green-powered Earth at your social media marketing partner


+10 # chemtex2611 2019-08-02 09:52
Ohioans feel that they are immune from misfortune. That is OK, because there are behavioral consequences for flirting with disaster. They may become the US Chernoble, a place for wild life and nature to retrench. We should thank them for being guinea pigs for the nation.
+16 # Macserp 2019-08-02 10:51
Add to this list the fact that the Great Lakes region is the largest freshwater body on the planet, accounting for 20 percent of the drinkable surface water.
+20 # 2019-08-02 12:07
it should be noted that there was a significant "incident" at perry right after this passed. of course FE and the NRC aren't talking about what happened, but we know the plant was shut.
-17 # BKnowswhitt 2019-08-02 12:34
Complete horseshit. No Wind or Solar Power source is cheaper or more efficient than nuclear power do some home work .. and they are not Ready to Blow Up .. So Blow yourself up Waserman .. politics of the Left 'Progressizm' Cut the Military .. Farce of Carbon .. and we dont' need no God .. we are smart .. blah HOGWASH .. nothing to offer but .. The Fear of the Masses ... Propaganda ..
+7 # tedrey 2019-08-03 02:06
I've done my homework. You are almost criminally wrong.
+3 # DongiC 2019-08-03 06:06
BK, are you ill? You should seriously consider having a brain scan. Denial of basic facts is not exactly a sign of mental health. And, using capital letters is no substitute for critical reasoning.
+1 # laborequalswealth 2019-08-03 08:29
What hole have you lived in since Chernobyl?
Half life of plutonium?
What deadly arrogance you exhibit for all to see.
+2 # ktony 2019-08-03 09:17
You are only demonstrating your own propagandized ignorance. How close to one of these pending disasters do you live?

To the rational people here, sorry for feeding the troll.
+5 # Caliban 2019-08-03 17:15
The King/Queen of Pro-Nuke horseshit claims Harvey Wasserman is a propagandist?

Wasserman has facts and rationality. # BK has name-calling and irrationality (frantic irrationality, at that).

I choose Wasserman - as all thoughtful readers will.
+7 # tedrey 2019-08-02 12:51
I don't often approve of injunctions, but if ever there was a time for one... and with criminal sanctions attached!
+10 # JoanF 2019-08-02 13:35
I guess we neighboring Michiganders need to build a wall to keep their nuclear shit out of our state.
+14 # johnescher 2019-08-02 13:58
You should see all the wind turbines on the northern (Canadian) side of the Great Lakes. While taking a train ride from Windsor to Toronto, I tried to count but lost track-- there were that many.

Why exactly, in energy and health care, do we insist on remaining stupider than other nations in the world?
+7 # DongiC 2019-08-03 06:14
We remain stupid because the energy corporations know how to game the system: make political contributions, purchase the politicians, pass favorable legislation, buy up newspapers and mass media, maximize profits. Oh yes, ignore reality and clear and present dangers to the environment. Finally, elect Republicans whose first priority is profits. It's sort of like an economic black mass where the GOP reiterates its devotion to Mammon. Now, what did Christ say about serving two masters?
-9 # BKnowswhitt 2019-08-03 15:50
Nuclear is the answer. And the turbines are a blight on the landscape. They produce no energy when the wind does not blow. and the idea of making 11% on the investment died in las vegas when that payout to the producers of solar home using putting it back in the system got reduced to 2% .. worse and bigger blight than coal fired plants ... and more expensive .. storage and the footprint to acid batteries .. it's all a farce envoked on mankind by the .. Ahem .. Well meaning Left ..
+12 # Kootenay Coyote 2019-08-02 15:40
&, geographically- disadvantaged americans forget that Lake Erie drains into Lake ontario, which rains into the St. Lawrence River, most of which is in Canada, a country just to your north, which would be unhappy to accept being your nuclear dump.
+5 # DongiC 2019-08-03 06:24
Classic confrontation coming in Ohio. The people versus energy corporations, the Republicans, dedicated to profits, against the Democrats concerned with the environment, money versus other values. Notice how the good old boys are trying to keep this vital issue off the ballot. So much for the Republican claim to being concerned with the will of the people. Might end up, though, being a big win for the Progressives and a huge loss for Sir Donald and his white, nationalistic, misogynist, money-loving supporters.

Come on Ohioans. Win one for the environment! Vote Sanders and Warren in 20/20.
+9 # laborequalswealth 2019-08-03 08:26
Nuke plants are a catastrophe waiting to happen. Guaranteed.


When capitalists won’t take your money for doing nothing, you KNOW something is seriously wrong.
+6 # 2019-08-03 17:18
wind, solar, batteries and led/efficiency are now far cheaper than nukes, without the waste & apocalyptic explosions.

bknowswhitt knows absolutely nothing about any of it.

440 nuke reactors burn at 300 degrees centigrade and often explode. that's exactly how you fry the earth.
-5 # PatentPending 2019-08-03 19:08
Third bullet point says "Like all nuke reactors, both emit substantial quantities of heat, radiation, and carbon" carbon? I think you need to check your facts, last I checked, nuclear reactor are a clean energy, aside from the radiation, Wich if handled properly should not be a problem. And for those saying Chernobyl is an accurate representation of what would happen in this case, let me remind you, Chernobyl was a Soviet, bootleged experiment, it was also 33 years ago, I think that technology has maybe improved, thus improving safety, though that may just be me...
+7 # 2019-08-04 12:39
all reactors emit carbon 14.

all reactors burn at 300 degrees C

all reactors emit radiation

no reactors are now competitive with wind/solar

no reactors have private liability insurance.

no reactor owners can handle their nuke waste.

time to move on.
+5 # Ken Halt 2019-08-03 22:47
"In his June 4 Tuesday Opinin column, "Merkel's nulear policy: What not to do," Charles Lane argued for more nuclear plants. In our country and around the world, new nuclear plants cannot compete with comparable dollar investments in energy-efficien t buildings and consumer products, or wtih wind power and various forms of installed solar energy. New atomic energy plants, struggling with years of long delays and huge cost overruns from Georgia to Finland, lose out in price, carbon reduction, expeditiousness , waste storage costs, safety and national security risks when compared with renewables and energy conservation. The long-coddled nuclear power industry - a poster child for crony capitalism - demands and receives government-guar anteed loans, limited liability, insurance subsidies, advance payments by ratepayers and extreme taxpayer bailouts" - Ralph Nader, from the Letters to the Editor section of the WaPo.
+5 # Salus Populi 2019-08-04 10:04
It should also be kept in mind that "peaceful" nuclear energy originated as a p.r. move to make nuclear weapons acceptable to the general public, since following over a decade of atmospheric nuclear testing, the anti-nuke movement [whose semaphoric symbol -- "ND" for "nuclear disarmament" -- was adopted as a generalized peace sign] was beginning to generate a serious backlash.

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