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Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Ohio. (photo: AP)

The following is testimony given before the Ohio Legislature in Columbus, May 22, 2019.

Is Ohio’s Legislature declaring a state of atomic socialism?

Is it poised for a Soviet gouging of some $3 billion over the next ten years? If so, this Bolshevik fiscal bloodletting will cripple Ohio’s economy for years to come.

The current bailout scam is meant to save two dirty, dangerous, decayed Chernobyl-ready atomic reactors that are falling apart. Neither can compete in the free markets so many Buckeyes profess to love.

The current bailout scam is meant to save two dirty, dangerous, decayed Chernobyl-ready atomic reactors that are falling apart. Neither can compete in the free markets so many Buckeyes profess to love.

The Legislature proposes this $3-billion handout while blocking the influx of some $4 billion in private capital. That money is waiting to come into the state from a bevy of private investors. These businesses are set to build thousands of wind turbines in ag land along the lake in northern Ohio.

Their proposed wind farm projects would create tens of thousands of jobs while generating massive amounts of safe, clean energy far cheaper than those radioactive “mistakes by the lake.” The fast-rising turbines would lower electric rates throughout the region. Their ripple effect would multiply the private capital and much-needed jobs coming into the state rather than draining it out of the public pocket.

Because of its industrial base, Ohio is already among the nation’s top wind-industry employers. But the components Ohio’s wind industry produces largely go out of state. Almost beyond comprehension, the Legislature is preventing the construction of wind farms within the state that would multiply the demand for the turbine components produced here. And yet it wants to gouge the state’s taxpayers and ratepayers to support two dying nuclear reactors whose crumbling radioactive guts have long since been imported.

The Legislature’s astonishing turn to Soviet atomic economics comes as FirstEnergy’s top executives pocket some $25 million in annual “salaries.” Last year they spent $3 million to “lobby” the Legislature.

So about 10% of the proposed bailout would go straight into the personal bank accounts of the rich execs who have driven FirstEnergy into bankruptcy and now want to profit at public expense to bail it out.

But where is the plan to inspect the crumbling reactors they want us to fund? Are we Ohioans just some saps who buy hot obsolete jalopies without checking the brakes, radiator, tires, or cracked block? How is a bailout to be evaluated without an expert appraisal? What future repairs will these reactors need? What’s their true dollar value?

Davis-Besse is America’s #1 bet to become the next Chernobyl. Designed in the 1960s to last 40 years, it’s now 42 years old. It has hosted two of America’s five worst atomic incidents. It’s likely embrittled and cracked. Its owner loves to defer necessary maintenance. In 2002, boric acid infamously ate into its reactor head. The containment was breached to glue on a new one. The radiation shield building is literally crumbling.

Perry is the first US reactor damaged by an earthquake. Who wants to bet on what happens when the next one hits? Who wants to wait downwind while dizzied operators try to keep that thing under control as it shakes and shimmies, crumbles and collapses?

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The NRC always says reactors are “safe,” no matter how close they are to melting down or blowing up. Just ask Greg Jaczko, the Commission’s former Chair, who now says all nuke plants should be shut.

But FE is in bankruptcy, and these are its two prime capital assets. Without inspecting them, how do we know their net present value? What serious investor would fund them without having an independent inspection to determine their actual market price or operational capacities?

Perry and DB spew heat, chemicals, and radiation. Their cooling towers kill birds. Their effluents poison and fry millions of marine creatures. They unbalance and contaminate our Great Lakes.

Sooner or later, decommissioning WILL come. Much of the current workforce MUST be retained for the years of tearing down and burying those radioactive hulks.

The rest can be retrained to build and run wind farms that will last decades. California’s “Retain and Retrain” program at Diablo Canyon’s two soon-to-shut reactors won over the IBEW, and state and environmental groups. Ohio must be next.

But a single infamous setback clause in the Ohio code blocks our wind farm bonanza. Indiana, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania all have similar winds, but far more turbines. Their lesser setbacks cause zero health or ecological damage. Ours block $4 billion in green private investment but demand $3 billion in radioactive bailouts.

The North Coast is flat, windy, laced with transmission lines. The tower sites are near the cities. The farmers want the income. Lake Erie’s midsection hosts the world’s strongest winds, set in fresh, relatively shallow water.

Private atomic socialism-for-the-rich is dooming our state, both economically and ecologically.

Let the markets work. Fully inspect those obsolete radioactive junk heaps before Soviet bailouts stick us with two more Chernobyls. Lift the setback clause. Retain and retrain the workers. Welcome the green on-rush of private capital, secure jobs, cheap energy and modern, zero-emission wind and solar that can make Ohio great again.

harvey wasserman 200

True Buckeye capitalists unite! You have only your hot lemon socialism to lose.

Harvey "Sluggo" Wasserman
ReaderSupportedNews

To see this testimony on Ohio House video, go in 1:06 ( one hour, six minutes), go here.