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Tough when even a pro nuclear voice has to deplore the corruption in the nuclear industry

FirstEnergy Scandal Could Do Irreparable Harm To Nuclear Power. Forbes , 16 June 21,

Ohio’s Republican-dominated state legislature stood firm against its former speaker of the house: Rep. Larry Householder, who was indicted last July along with others for allegedly taking bribes to protect the state’s nuclear power industry. Two of the accused have already pled guilty. The beneficiary of the $1 billion state bailout, FirstEnergy FE-1.6% Corp., is reportedly in talks with prosecutors. 

Unfortunately for the nuclear industry, this event cannot be viewed in isolation: it will have a rippling effect that will no doubt jar an industry that is perpetually trying to regain its balance. Once the case fully comes to light, the fallout from it could be much worse than any preceding event — a reference to Three Mile Island and the San Onofre Nuclear Station in Southern California,

“FirstEnergy also admits it paid $250,000 to Generation Now in March of 2017″ when the alleged scheme began, says the Energy and Policy Institute. Altogether, the utility admits to paying $56.6 million. “Longstreth and Generation Now were both indicted alongside Householder last year, and have since pleaded guilty to participating in a racketeering conspiracy.”

Prosecutors allege that “Company A” is at the heart of the matter — an entity that everyone knows: FirstEnergy. It is now alleged to have taken monies from its regulated transmission and distribution units in multiple states and to have given it to this shadowy group called Generation Now. ………

At issue is an Ohio law calling for a $1.3 billion rescue package — a measure that essentially taxes every electricity consumer and then directs that money to bail out FirstEnergy’s nuclear operations. The $60 million alleged bribes also helped beat back a voter initiative that would have thrown out that law. 

The Damage Done

FirstEnergy, realizing this event has soiled its reputation, fired some key executives — ranging from the ethics officer to the chief executive officer, Charles Jones. Prosecutors alleged that Jones and Householder had 84 phone contacts between 2017 and 2019. While both men deny wrongdoing, FirstEnergy’s annual financial filings said that it was discussing a “deferred prosecution” — an agreement in which prosecutors grant amnesty if certain requirements are met. For starters, the utility would have to pay back customers for the monies it took from them and then misappropriated. 

“This is likely the largest bribery, money laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people of the state of Ohio,” said then-U.S. Attorney David DeVillers, at the time of the indictments. “This was bribery, plain and simple. This was a quid pro quo. This was pay to play.” The prosecution alleges that the payments were tantamount to “bags of cash” that went unregulated and unreported. …..   

June 19, 2021 - Posted by | Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA

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