For anyone following or attempting to follow nuclear energy news in the United States, what’s been going on in the State of Ohio is a solid indicator of just where we stand, technologically, and from a style of government standpoint.
Without going into stupefying background detail, I’ll try to sum up the Ohio situation with help from the summary published Oct. 26 by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman who have been birddogging this issue for decades now. And I quote:
•In July, the gerrymandered Ohio Legislature passed HB6, a massive
[1 billion-dollar] bailout to keep the two dying nukes operating on Lake Erie, [Davis-Besse, and Perry].
•Akron-based First Energy is bankrupt…[demanding] a promised $1 billion bailout.
•Perry opened in 1986; Davis Besse in 1974, [the latter’s containment vessel so embrittled, cores tend to look like Swiss cheese. In 1974 it nearly melted down, inspiring Scott Heron’s song: “We Nearly Lost Detroit.”]
•HB6 also bails out two coal burners (on in Indiana [not in Ohio]) and subsidizes ten small solar arrays while slashing successful energy efficiency/conservation programs and killing broader support for renewables.
•Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts (OACB) filed for a referendum to repeal HB6 with a requirement of 265,774 certified signatures to be gathered within 90 days.
•Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State sat on the application for 38 days, effectively reducing the petition-gathering window from 90 to 52 days.
A New MO (operating style)
•After OACB’s hired petition gatherers were required by the state to make their contact info public, they immediately began receiving phone threats and bribe offers.
•Signature gatherers in the field were physically assaulted by pro-nuke thugs, including one attack in which a hand was injured, and a cell phone smashed.
•Up to three “blockers” repeatedly surrounded individual signature gatherers and drove away [potential] signers.
•Signature gatherers were offered as much as $2,500 to turn over their signed petitions. [Contrast this with receiving only $.25 cents a signature.]
While disrupting legitimate [signature] gatherers, pro-nuke thugs aggressively collected multiple duplicate signatures for a fake non-binding petition.
•First Energy then claimed it had gathered more than 800,000 “pro-nuke’ signatures.
•First Energy accompanied [thug] assaults with a massive radio/TV/mailer campaign [with the ridiculous claim that] “Chinese Communists” were buying Ohio’s grid.
•OACB’s court filing showed that state regulations imposed on certification have vastly reduced the number of referenda Ohioans can vote on.
•Wednesday last, Oct. 26, a federal judge rejected OACB’s request for more time to gather signatures, and sent the case to the Ohio GOP-dominated Supreme Court.
•OACB is rumored to have about 225,000 signatures on hand, 40,000 short of the threshold. Far more will be needed to overcome a [Republican] Secretary of State certain to disallow as many as [possible].
•[And here’s the kicker:] Polls show Ohioans [who will be the rate-payers] vehemently opposed to the bailout. [That’s why] most observers believe if it [got] on the ballot, the referendum would pass by a large margin.
•[But] should Federal appeals fail, and the Ohio Supreme Court refuse the request for more time, the referendum process will have suffered a potential death blow nationwide. It will mean Fascist thugs will be free to assault legitimate signature gatherers at will.
This last point is the main take-away. First Energy mounted this campaign in major Ohio cities: Youngstown, Akron, Toledo, and Columbus among them. It underwrote its million-dollar-plus cost-of-doing business in flyers, TV/radio/mailer announcements. It paid thousands of goon-disrupters to do their thuggish business on the streets.
At play is a $1 billion bailout. A million-dollar cost-of-doing business is a mere investment, a drop in the corporate bucket. At issue is that its cost will be passed directly to ratepayers.
Core tests conducted at Davis Besse show that its containment vessel is critically embrittled. Should there be an accident (like Three-Mile Island for example} Lake Erie is at serious risk of nuclear contamination. First Energy’s ratepayers draw their water from Lake Erie, the fourth largest of the Great Lakes and source of fresh water for Canadians and Americans living in the area.
Already in 2011, following the nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima, I covered the issue of Davis Besse’s critical embrittlement in Devil’s Tango: How I Learned the Fukushima Step by Step.
That was 8 years ago.
In other nuclear developments this week:
Despite massive activist opposition, the California Coastal Commission voted unanimously a permit Edison to destroy the San Onofre cooling pools.
Turkish President Erdogan states he wants to build a nuclear bomb.
Although the Senate voted to reinstate them, the House version of the Defense Authorization bill cuts out funding for new ICBMS and for the new production facilities.
The Kings Bay Plowshares are all found guilty of their nuclear resistance actions at the Trident submarine base in Washington State.
The nuclear industry continues to lobby Congress for a 23 billion bailout over ten years, and $34 billion over 20 years at the expense of taxpayers and the climate (because it dries up funds which otherwise might go to sustainable energies).
Thousands of sloppily stored bags of radiation waste go missing in Japan after the latest typhoon hits.
Tell chairman Neal to invest in clean renewable technology, not dirty nuclear energy at:
Tell Trump’s EPA not to give a free pass to the oil and gas industry to pollute our air at:
And what the hell, buy a “No First Use” tee-shirt at:
Japan’s New Environmental Minister Calls for Closing Down All Nuclear Reactors to Prevent Another Disaster Like Fukushima.
Federal court blocks Florida Republicans’ modern-day poll tax.
California’s new public banking bill opens door to community investment by cities.
N. Y. C. bar assn.. calls for Trump AG Barr to either recuse himself or resign.
South Carolina prisoners appeal to UN after state and federal “officials” ignore please for livable conditions.
In historic vote, House passes bipartisan bill to end anonymous companies.
ACLU celebrates settlement ending unconstitutional effort to silence pipelines protesters in So. Dakota.
House bill would create specific protections for climate refugees.
House Democrats pass bill that would completely restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
As the House legally engages in an impeachment “inquiry”, a judge finds ruling that lawmakers can see some of Mueller’s secret evidence.
DeVos held in contempt for predatory student loan collecting practices.
Federal judge orders DOJ to turn over Mueller grand jury material.
Maryland AG sues slumlord Jared Kushner’s company.
College Students opposing U.S.-Korea $6 Billion defense sharing stage protest inside residence of U.S. Ambassador to So. Korea.
Massive protests in Chile force repeal of fare hikes. Chilean trade unions call for general strike in support of uprising originally led by students.
In Chile, miners initiate general strike as military kills 11.
Lebanese Ministers resign from cabinet after third day of protests fueled by music and dancing as people demand an end to austerity.
Huge demonstrations flood streets of Barcelona in response to Spain’s attempt to put down Catalonia separatists, and impose draconian jail sentences on their leaders.
Extinction Rebellion targets arms industry, opposing the major carbon pollution by the world’s militaries.
Tulsi Gabbard calls out U.S. on its endless regime change wars.
Jane Fonda, Sam Waterson arrested on Capitol Hill protesting for a Green New Deal.
First fast food workers union in U.S. prepares to strike for better wages and a higher living standard.
Tens of thousands rally in Khartoum against former ruling party in Sudan.
Palestine lecture proceeds as Milan students stand up to Zionist attempt to block it.
In Panama, students defy blockade to deliver message directly to National Assembly.
India cancels plans for huge coal power stations as solar energy prices hit record low.
Bank of England boss says global finance is funding 4C temperature rise.
Progressives in Canada celebrate victory of “Green New Deal Squad” of eight winning candidates.
Fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline dealt major blow as Virginia AG imposes multimillion-dollar fine after they committed over 300 water-protection violations.
Opponents of facial recognition surveillance at music festivals across the U.S. declare victory.
Exxon and Oil Sands go on trial in New York climate fraud case.
City of Greensboro, NC City Council approves $500,000 for violence reduction program