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EDF trucks enriched uranium to the unfinished Flamanville nuclear reactor. Why so much in advance of the need for it?

Reuters 26th Oct 2020, A first truck responsible for transporting enriched uranium to the EPR
reactor in Flamanville (Manche) left Monday morning from the Framatome
plant in Romans-sur-Isère (Drôme), according to anti-nuclear associations
who denounce an EDF “maneuver” to “make it impossible to question”
the project.

Associations, including Greenpeace, France Nature
Environnement and several anti-nuclear collectives, believe in a press
release that “nothing guarantees” that the EPR “can work one day”
and therefore consider that the fact of storing fuel there now is “an
aberration”. They also consider that “the arrival of fuel in Flamanville
also questions the security of the site” and stress that this first
delivery opens “a ballet of trucks which will last several months”.

https://fr.reuters.com/article/idFRL8N2HH2HL

Greenpeace 26th Oct 2020,  EDF has just obtained the authorization to transport new fuel to the
Flamanville EPR nuclear reactor site. A first truck left at 8 am Monday,
October 26 from Romans-sur-Isère, in Drôme, and arrived in the evening at
Flamanville, in Manche. In the coming weeks, these nuclear road convoys
will therefore multiply… As if the EPR were ready to start. Yet this is
far, very far from being the case. Why such a rush, when the EPR is
accumulating delays? EDF once again adopts the strategy of a fait accompli,
despite common sense.

https://www.greenpeace.fr/epr-de-flamanville-du-combustible-pour-un-projet-obsolete/

October 29, 2020 Posted by | France, politics, Uranium | Leave a comment

Iran building underground nuclear facility, replacing the damaged one.

Iran building underground nuclear facility: UN watchdog,  SMH,  By David Rising, October 28, 2020 Berlin: Inspectors from the UN’s atomic watchdog have confirmed Iran has started building an underground centrifuge assembly plant after its previous one exploded in what Tehran called a sabotage attack over the summer, the agency’s head said.

Iran also continues to stockpile greater amounts of low-enriched uranium, but does not appear to possess enough to produce a weapon, Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the AP in an interview in Berlin.

Following the July explosion at the Natanz nuclear site, Tehran said it would build a new, more secure, structure in the mountains around the area. Satellite pictures of Natanz analysed by experts have yet to show any obvious signs of excavation at the site in Iran’s central Isfahan province……

Natanz had been targeted by the Stuxnet computer virus previously, which was believed to be a creation of the US and Israel. Iran has yet to say whom it suspects of carrying out the sabotage in the July incident. Suspicion has fallen on Israel as well, despite a claim of responsibility by a previously unheard-of group at the time.

Under the provisions of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with world powers known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran is allowed to produce a certain amount of enriched uranium for non-military purposes.

In return, Iran was offered economic incentives by the countries involved.

Since President Donald Trump pulled the US unilaterally out of the deal in 2018 and re-imposed sanctions, however, the other signatories — Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China — have been struggling to keep the deal alive.

Meanwhile, Iran has been steadily exceeding the deal’s limits on how much uranium it can stockpile, the purity to which it can enrich uranium and other restrictions to pressure those countries to come up with a plan to offset US sanctions.

Still though, Iran has continued to allow IAEA inspectors full access to its nuclear facilities, including Natanz, Grossi said………

Grossi personally visited Tehran in late August for meetings with top officials, and managed to break a months-long impasse over two locations thought to be from the early 2000s where Iran was suspected of having stored or used undeclared nuclear material and possibly conducted nuclear-related activities.

Inspectors have now taken samples from both of those sites, and Grossi said they are still undergoing lab analysis.

“It was a constructive solution to a problem what we were having,” he said. “And I would say since then we have kept the good level of cooperation in the sense that our inspectors are regularly present and visiting the sites.”  https://www.smh.com.au/world/middle-east/iran-building-underground-nuclear-facility-un-watchdog-20201028-p569ht.html

October 29, 2020 Posted by | Iran, politics | Leave a comment

Japan’s net zero emissions target should be combined with zero nuclear power

Japan’s net zero emissions target should be combined with zero nuclear power, October 28, 2020 (Mainichi Japan)   ”……………  Under Japan’s basic energy plan, the country aims to raise the ratio of renewables to 22 to 24% by fiscal 2030. But this target is far from sufficient. As the government is currently working on a revision to the plan, it should drastically review the energy mix.

It is imperative to reconsider the nuclear power ratio said to account for 20-22% of Japan’s power mix. The government is aspiring to secure constant nuclear power output by replacing aging nuclear power stations and through other measures while moving ahead with reactivation of idled nuclear plants.

However, nuclear power complexes carry the risk of severe accidents. As it costs enormous money to secure safety at those facilities, the idea of labeling nuclear power as cheap energy is not globally accepted. The government has a responsibility to provide a road map for breaking Japan’s dependence on nuclear power.

In European countries, efforts to revive their economies severely hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic through environmental investment are underway. This initiative, called “green recovery,” can come into line with the principle of a “virtuous cycle of environment and economic growth” emphasized by Prime Minister Suga.

It is hoped that Japan will achieve a decarbonized society through improvement of renewable energy technologies and active investments in research and development of hydrogen energy and retrieval and storage of carbon dioxide.

It is also necessary to build a mechanism to guarantee the realization of the promise of net zero greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to discussions on a carbon tax, levied in accordance with the volumes of greenhouse gas emissions, the government is urged to consider specifying this goal in Japan’s Act on Promotion of Global Warming Countermeasures.

Hurdles for attaining the goal remain high and we have a limited time frame. It is urgently needed to craft a strategy to prevent the net zero target from ending up as a mere empty promise. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20201028/p2a/00m/0na/017000c

October 29, 2020 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear, politics | Leave a comment

Britain to lose protection of the environment – as a result of Brexit

BBC 27th Oct 2020, Campaigners fear that the legal body designed to protect the environment on
behalf of citizens is being undermined by the UK government. Ministers
promised that after Brexit, laws on air, water and waste would be policed
by an independent Office for Environmental Protection (OEP).
Previously,
these laws were enforced by European courts, which prosecuted EU
governments that breached green rules. Ministers promised the OEP would be
similarly independent. But they now want to grant themselves powers to
“advise” the new body. These plans were revealed in a tabled amendment
to the Environment Bill. Critics fear ministers may counsel the OEP against
taking the government to court if it breaches laws.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54706675

October 29, 2020 Posted by | environment, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Hokkaido municipalities gamble on a nuclear future, but at what cost?  

Hokkaido municipalities gamble on a nuclear future, but at what cost?    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/10/24/national/media-national/hokkaido-gambling-casinos/  BY PHILIP BRASOR   Since August, two local governments on the western shore of Hokkaido have said they will apply to the central government for a survey that could eventually lead to their municipalities hosting a permanent underground repository for high-level radioactive waste. The fact that these two localities made their announcements about a month apart and are situated not far from each other was enough to attract more than the usual media attention, which revealed not only the straitened financial situations of the two areas, but also the muddled official policy regarding waste produced by the country’s nuclear power plants.

The respective populations of the two municipalities reacted differently. The town of Suttsu made its announcement in August, or, at least, its 71-year-old mayor did, apparently without first gaining the understanding of his constituents, who, according to various media, are opposed to the plan. An Oct. 8 Tokyo Broadcasting System Television news report said that someone threw a molotov cocktail in the vicinity of the mayor’s house the previous evening, and an Oct. 13 Tokyo Shimbun article said the mayor’s announcement came after he received a petition demanding the town not apply for the survey.
Meanwhile, the mayor of the village of Kamoenai says he also wants to apply for the study after the local chamber of commerce urged the village assembly to do so in early September. TBS asked residents about the matter and they seemed genuinely in favor of the study because of the village’s fiscal situation. Traditionally, the area gets by on fishing — namely, herring and salmon — which has been in decline for years. A local government whose application for the survey is approved will receive up to ¥2 billion in subsidies from the central government.
 This money was probably the reason for the Suttsu mayor’s interest, too, but, according to Tokyo Shimbun, the population of Suttsu is generally younger and they may be afraid of what a survey for the purpose of building a nuclear waste repository would mean for their future. Kamoenai, on the other hand, is already receiving subsidies for nuclear-related matters. The village is 10 kilometers from the Tomari nuclear power plant, where some residents of Kamoenai work. In exchange for allowing the construction of the plant, the village now receives about ¥80 million a year, a sum that accounts for 15 percent of its budget. According to TBS, Kamoenai increasingly relies on that money as time goes by, since its population has declined by more than half over the past 40 years.
It’s possible for both municipalities to be approved for the survey, though that hardly seems guaranteed. Since Japan’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization started soliciting local governments for possible waste storage sites in 2002, a few localities have expressed interest, but only one — the town of Toyo in Kochi Prefecture — has actually applied, and then the residents elected a new mayor who canceled the application. The residents’ concern was understandable: The waste in question can remain radioactive for up to 100,000 years.
However, the selection process also takes a long time. The first phase survey, which uses existing data to study geological attributes of the given area, requires about two years. If all parties agree to continue, the second phase survey, in which geological samples are taken, takes up to four years. The final survey phase, in which a makeshift underground facility is built, takes around 14 years. And that’s all before construction of the actual repository begins
Some people in Suttsu suspect that the mayor will simply grab the subsidy money and then quit after the first phase, but, according to a lawyer interviewed by Tokyo Shimbun, it’s not that easy. Following the first phase, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization decides if the municipality is eligible for the second phase, which comes with a ¥7 billion payout, and, in principle, the head of the municipality as well as the governor of the surrounding prefecture are given “consideration” as to whether they want to proceed. Hokkaido’s governor, Naomichi Suzuki, has already said he is opposed to the applications, but there seems to be nothing in the law that prevents the Nuclear Waste Management Organization from going ahead regardless of what he or other locals think.

Then again, neither Suttsu nor Kamoenai may make it past the first stage. Yugo Ono, an honorary geology professor at Hokkaido University, told the magazine Aera that Suttsu is located relatively close to a convergence of faults that caused a major earthquake in 2018. And Kamoenai is already considered inappropriate for a repository on a map drawn up by the trade ministry in 2017.

If the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s process for selecting a site sounds arbitrary, it could reflect the government’s general attitude toward future plans for nuclear power, which is still considered national policy, despite the fact that only three reactors nationwide are online. Presently, spent fuel is being stored in cooling pools at 17 nuclear plants comprising a storage capacity of 21,400 tons. As of March, 75 percent of that capacity was being used, so there is still some time to find a final resting place for the waste. Some of this spent fuel was supposed to be recycled at the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant in Aomori Prefecture, but, due to numerous setbacks, it doesn’t look as if it’s ever going to open, so the fuel will just become hazardous garbage.

Ono tells Aera that the individual private nuclear plants should, in line with product liability laws, be required to manage their own waste themselves. If they don’t have the capacity, then they should create more. It’s wrong to bury the waste 300 meters underground, which is the plan, because many things can happen over the course of future millennia. The waste should be in a safe place on the surface, where it can be readily monitored.

However, that would require lots of money virtually forever, something the government would prefer not to think about, much less explain. Instead, they’ve made plans that allow them to kick the can down the road for as long as possible.

October 26, 2020 Posted by | Japan, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Shadow of $25 billion Nuclear Plant Vogtle hangs over Georgia Public Service Commission elections

Nuclear costs loom over races for Georgia PSC races
Public Service Commission must deal with $25 billion Plant Vogtle’s impact on electric rates,
News 4 Ajax, Jeff Amy, Associated Press,  25 Oct 20,  ATLANTA – The shadow of two nuclear reactors that Georgia Power Co. is building near Waynesboro hangs over two statewide elections for the Georgia Public Service Commission. Although the reactors are now getting so close to completion that they are likely to enter service, whoever is elected will have to deal with the $25 billion project’s ultimate impact on customer bills.

Electric customers statewide and even in Jacksonville will help pay for Plant Vogtle, as Georgia Power has contracts to provide power from the plant around the Southeast.

The five-person utility regulatory body is currently all Republican, with two members up for reelection this year. ………..

Amid rising costs, the plan to add a third and fourth nuclear reactor at Plant Vogtle survived a cost-overrun scare in 2018 with the heavy support of the state’s Republican establishment. Georgia Power, the largest subsidiary of the Atlanta-based Southern Co. is now building the only new nuclear plants in the U.S.  ……… https://www.news4jax.com/news/georgia/2020/10/25/nuclear-costs-loom-over-races-for-georgia-utility-regulator/

October 26, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

USA government puts out a financial lifeline to the failing nuclear industry

Nuclear Energy Granted A State-Sponsored Lifeline In The U.S. Oil Price By Haley Zaremba – Oct 24, 2020  For the past several decades, the United States has been the poster child for the ailing state of the nuclear industry. The nuclear sector in the U.S. is plagued by aging infrastructure, mounting debts, dependence on government handouts, and the staggering cost of maintaining spent nuclear fuel. What’s more, it’s had to compete with the homegrown shale revolution, and expensive nuclear is simply no match for the tidal wave of cheap shale oil and gas that came flooding out of the West Texas Permian Basin.The United States has long been the single-biggest generator of nuclear power in the world, accounting for a whopping third of global nuclear energy production. However, that status will likely soon be stripped away as the United States has seen one nuclear plant after another shutter after struggling and failing to stay in the black, at the same time that other nations have pushed their nuclear programs forward with rapid rates of expansion. China, in particular, has invested huge sums into building up its nuclear program, and is on track to overtake France and then the United States to become the new biggest nuclear power producer on the planet.

But the winds of change could soon be blowing for U.S. nuclear. Last month the nuclear sector got a small but certainly not insignificant state-sponsored lifeline when the the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that “it would be awarding more than $65m in nuclear energy research, crosscutting technology development, facility access, and infrastructure awards.” According to reporting by PowerTechnology, “the awards fall under the department’s nuclear energy programs – the Nuclear Energy University Programme, the Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies, and the Nuclear Science User Facilities.”

And now, just this week, there’s even better news for U.S. nuclear power. “After hemming and hawing for decades, the United States is taking some big steps in developing advanced nuclear reactor technologies,” Forbes reported on Wednesday. The article is referring to yet another major announcement from the DOE that took place just last week. The department will be awarding $80 million each–and that’s just in initial funding–to two different teams under the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP). The DOE has planned for an additional $3.2 billion in investment over the next seven years, an impressive sum that will be matched by the private sector within the nuclear industry. One of these teams is to be led by Bill Gates’ brainchild TerraPower in a joint effort with GE Hitachi. The other will be spearheaded by X-energy. …….https://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Nuclear-Power/Nuclear-Energy-Granted-A-State-Sponsored-Lifeline-In-The-US.html

October 26, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Small Nuclear Reactors – the Big New Way – to get the public to fund the nuclear weapons industry

so-called “small nuclear reactors”

Downing Street told the Financial Times, which it faithfully reported, that it was “considering” £2 billion of taxpayers’ money to support “small nuclear reactors”

They are not small

The first thing to know about these beasts is that they are not small. 440MW? The plant at Wylfa (Anglesey, north Wales) was 460MW (it’s closed now). 440MW is bigger than all the Magnox type reactors except Wylfa and comparable to an Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor.

Only if military needs are driving this decision is it explicable.

”Clearly, the military need to maintain both reactor construction and operation skills and access to fissile materials will remain. I can well see the temptation for Defence Ministers to try to transfer this cost to civilian budgets,” 

Any nation’s defence budget in this day and age cannot afford a new generation of nuclear weapons. So it needs to pass the costs onto the energy sector.

How the UK’s secret defence policy is driving energy policy – with the public kept in the darkhttps://www.thefifthestate.com.au/energy-lead/how-the-uks-secret-defence-policy-is-driving-energy-policy-with-the-public-kept-in-the-dark/  BY DAVID THORPE / 13 OCTOBER 2020

 The UK government has for 15 years persistently backed the need for new nuclear power. Given its many problems, most informed observers can’t understand why. The answer lies in its commitment to being a nuclear military force. Continue reading

October 24, 2020 Posted by | politics, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Another city leaves small nuclear reactor project – unanimous vote by Murray City Council, Utah

Murray City votes to withdraw from nuclear power project,  Salt Lake Tribune, By Taylor Stevens– 23 Oct 20,  The Murray City Council voted unanimously this week to back out of a first-of-its-kind nuclear power project that has the support of a number of Utah municipalities.

It’s the fourth Utah city to exit the small modular nuclear reactor pursuit over the last few months amid pressure from opponents who have raised concerns about environmental and financial risks of the proposed 12-module plant, which would be located at Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls and produce a total 720 megawatts of electricity.

During the city’s Tuesday council meeting, Murray Power Manager Blaine Haacke outlined several advantages of the project, including the potential that it could fill the energy gap that will be left when the Hunter Power Plant in Castle Dale goes offline in the coming years.

But he ultimately recommended that the council vote to back out of the project, saying there were too many risks involved in committing another $1.1 million to $1.4 million in taxpayer dollars, with an ultimate anticipated price tag to city residents of around $2.1 million.
“I think there’s just enough stumbling blocks out there that I’m really concerned about,” Haacke told the council.
The project’s projected costs have ballooned significantly, from $4.5 billion a few years ago to around $6 billion now. And he said there’s a chance that leadership or priority changes on the national level could affect federal appropriations toward the nuclear reactor plant.
But Haacke told the council Tuesday that his biggest concern is that the plant is only 25% subscribed — and it’s not a sure thing that new customers will suddenly come on board once it’s built.,,,,,,,,,
Ahead of the vote, city staff also read several public comments from residents, all of which urged their elected officials to back out of the project over concerns about both cost and potential environmental impacts.
Rusty Cannon, vice president of the Utah Taxpayers Association, was among those who sent in a written comment, arguing that the municipal power company should not act as a “seed investor” for the new technology.
That responsibility, he said, should lie with the private sector, and “municipal power companies could instead look to purchase power from such a project upon its completion” around 2029.
Environmental groups, such as the Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah, have also raised concerns about the radioactive waste that would be generated by the project.
Despite the federal government’s support, the future of the project seems murkier now that Murray has joined Lehi, Logan and Kaysville in backing out of the project. And Haacke said he’s heard rumors that other cities are considering an exit as well ahead of a recently-extended deadline to “off-ramp” from the project.

He told the council that he expects UAMPS will carry the project forward without Murray. But he said the association’s members will meet during the first week of November to make a final decision, after they find out how many cities have exited.

“If there are enough [municipalities] that have dropped out, as a UAMPS committee we will say, ‘let’s just drop it and move on,’” he said. …………
The Utah cities that remain in the Carbon Free Power Project have until Oct. 31 to drop out or to appropriate additional funds to the small modular reactor project.  ….  https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2020/10/23/murray-city-votes/

October 24, 2020 Posted by | politics, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

USA Nuclear Regulatory Commission to effectively deregulate massive amounts of radioactive wastes

 

 

PEER 21st Oct 2020, The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is finalizing a year-long drive to functionally deregulate disposal of massive amounts of radioactive waste.
NRC’s plan would allow commercial nuclear reactors to dump virtually all their radioactive waste, except spent fuel, in local garbage landfills,  which are designed for household trash not rad-waste, according to commentsfiled today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

https://www.peer.org/deregulation-rad-waste-disposal-plows-ahead/

October 24, 2020 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

The cruel and lonely death of an American nuclear weapons scientist

  The lost tale of a nuclear scientist’s death in a secret San Francisco hospital room, Katie Dowd, SFGATE, Oct. 23, 2020 Before San Francisco became a metropolis, there was the Presidio. Since its creation as a military base in 1776, it has stood alone in a windswept corner, gathering legends.It has seen executions, tragic accidents and countless hospital patients.

And if you’re a believer that violent ends produce restless spirits, the Presidio is full up with phantoms as a result.
The most haunted place is said to be Letterman Army Hospital, once the base’s largest medical facility

In looking for Presidio ghost stories, though, we stumbled across a far stranger tale than any haunting: the real-life demise of a nuclear scientist — a chapter of the Cold War, as far as we can tell, untold since 1953.

Twitchell was a genius. Born in Minnesota in 1917, he got his undergraduate degree from Rollins College in Florida and a masters in chemistry at UC Berkeley. At 23, he was promoted to project engineer in charge of the equipment department of the University of California radiation lab.
This was no ordinary lab. Among Twitchell’s colleagues were Glenn Seaborg, Ernest O. Lawrence and J. Robert Oppenheimer — all of whom would later contribute to the Manhattan Project — and together the team was working on the discovery of atomic particles. Once World War II broke out, their mission shifted. The lab’s work was now crucial to the creation of nuclear weapons for the U.S. military……….
 In 1952 then just 35 years old. That year, doctors diagnosed him with a malignant brain tumor and told him he likely did not have long to live.
As Twitchell and his wife Marie processed the terrible news, the U.S. government sprung into action. Although he likely would have wanted his palliative care to take place at his home at 2319 Glen Ave., in Berkeley, he was told that wouldn’t be possible. He needed to be moved as soon as possible to a secure location.

The brain tumor presented a particular problem for the Atomic Energy Commission: It had the potential to cause erratic behavior and uncontrolled verbal outbursts. They were fearful that as he lost control of his mental faculties, Twitchell would begin spilling nuclear secrets. He knew “as much about atomic energy as any one man,” an anonymous source in the commission would later tell the Oakland Tribune.

So they built a secret ward just for Twitchell. At the cost of $100,000 — nearly $1 million today — construction began at the Letterman Army Hospital in San Francisco’s Presidio for the unusual patient. Once finished, all doctors and nurses who might interact with Twitchell were given rigorous screenings for any national security issues. In the end, only one male nurse was trusted to primarily care for Twitchell. A guard stood watch outside the room at all times.

Unbeknownst to the other military patients at the hospital, a civilian lay dying in his own wing. “He was the hospital’s hush-hush case,” the San Francisco Examiner reported.

On March 23, 1953, five months after his diagnosis, Twitchell died. Two days later, news broke nationally. “A macabre tale of the atomic age was revealed yesterday,” the Examiner proclaimed. The Atomic Energy Commission was forced to admit Twitchell’s room wasn’t the only one they’d covertly constructed. Around the nation, there were similar isolation wards for individuals dealing in nuclear secrets.

An anonymous source told the Tribune this was standard protocol to keep scientists from blabbing while “unbalanced, anesthetized or under the influence of dentists’ ‘laughing gas.'” Although expensive, it was the only way to maintain national security.

But all this drama meant little to the Twitchells, who were left to bury their loved one…… https://www.sfgate.com/sfhistory/article/letterman-army-hospital-presidio-ghost-uc-berkeley-15668131.php

October 24, 2020 Posted by | health, psychology and culture, Religion and ethics, USA | Leave a comment

Miyagi Prefectural Assembly approves nuclear reactor restart, despite very strong public opposition

October 24, 2020 Posted by | Japan, politics | 1 Comment

UK’s Conservative politicians want strong action on climate change

October 22, 2020 Posted by | climate change, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Many 1000s sick in USA, but government spending priority is $billions, $trillions – for nuclear missiles!

October 20, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Ask pro-HB 6 lawmakers seeking reelection what they plan to do about the nuclear bailout bill 

Ask pro-HB 6 lawmakers seeking reelection what they plan to do about the nuclear bailout bill https://www.cleveland.com/opinion/2020/10/ask-pro-hb-6-lawmakers-seeking-reelection-what-they-plan-to-do-about-the-nuclear-bailout-bill.html Oct 18, 2020, By Thomas Suddes, cleveland.com

House Bill 6, which Ohio’s House and Senate passed last year, requires Ohio’s electricity consumers to bail out two nuclear power plants formerly owned by FirstEnergy Corp. – Perry, in Lake County, and Davis-Besse, in Ottawa County.

HB 6 also requires electricity customers to subsidize two coal-burning power plants, one of them in Indiana. Evidently, our General Assembly has solved all Ohio’s problems and now has the time, not to mention the wisdom, to address an Indiana problem.

True, Ohio’s House and Senate usually favor utilities over consumers. That’s not news. But this was: In July, a federal grand jury indicted then-House Speaker Larry Householder, a Republican from Perry County’s Glenford, and four other Statehouse figures because of an alleged racketeering conspiracy, “involving approximately $60 million,” to pass HB 6 – “a billion-dollar nuclear plant bailout.” (Householder and the others are presumed innocent unless convicted.)

Soon after, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, who last year had signed HB 6 almost before its ink dried, asked the legislature to repeal HB 6. But the House (61-38 Republican) and Senate (24-9 Republican) haven’t. True, a House Select Committee on Energy Policy and Oversight, appointed by new Speaker Robert Cupp (a Lima Republican who voted “yes” on HB 6) is “studying” HB 6. Maybe the committee could save time by reading the federal indictment.

Oh yes, the Senate will consider repealing HB 6 – but only after the House repeals it. There’s no reason why the Senate (led by President Larry Obhof, a Medina Republican who voted “yes” on HB 6) can’t repeal HB 6 before the House does. Maybe the real reason is that GOP senators think the House will never repeal it.

About all that Ohio electricity consumers can do is ask those members of the General Assembly who voted “yes” on House Bill 6 whether they will now vote to repeal it.

The Senate passed the bill 19-13. The House sent HB 6 to DeWine in a 51-38 vote (with 50 votes required). Some legislators who voted “yes” on HB 6 are Democrats. But most “yes” votes came from Householder, Cupp and other Republicans. Whether incumbents are Democrats or a Republicans, voters might care to ask reelection candidates what they’ll do about HB 6.
A Greater Cleveland state senator who voted “yes” on HB 6 is asking voters to reelect him: Sen. Matt Dolan, a Chagrin Falls Republican, of the 24th District.
These Greater Cleveland Ohio House members also voted “yes” on HB 6 and are asking voters to reelect them: Democratic Reps. Terrence Upchurch, of Cleveland; Tavia Galonski, of Akron; and Thomas West, of Canton.

These Greater Cleveland House members also voted “yes” on HB 6 and are asking voters to reelect them: Republican Reps. Thomas F. Patton, of Strongsville; Jamie Callender, of Concord Township (HB 6′s co-sponsor); Diane V. Grendell, of Chesterland (whose district includes parts of Geauga and Portage counties); Darrell Kick, of Loudonville (whose district includes Ashland County and part of Medina County); Scott Oelslager, of North Canton; Bill Roemer, of Richfield; Dick Stein of Norwalk (whose district includes part of Lorain County); and Scott Wiggam, of Wooster.

Even if legislators run unopposed, they’re still answerable to residents of their districts.

Legislators who voted “yes” on HB 6 will likely tout “savings” – not “costs” – electricity consumers will see thanks to HB 6. If that’s the answer a voter gets, she or he should ask where the numbers came from. (HB 6 analyses with differing dates are floating around.) The answer a Statehouse politician gets about what a bill costs depends on how she or he asks the question.
Still, these are crucial questions that never get good answers from pro-House Bill 6 General Assembly members:

If HB 6 is such great legislation, why did it only attract 51 “yes” votes in the 99-member House – just one more “yes” vote than the 50-vote constitutional minimum?

And why did 15 of the House’s 61 Republicans – one in four – vote “no” on HB 6 even though then-GOP leader Householder wanted it passed?

Finally: Why would anybody allegedly spend $60 million in dark money to pass a bill that’s supposed to be such a great deal for Ohio electricity consumers – unless it isn’t?

Thomas Suddes, a member of the editorial board, writes from Athens.
To reach Thomas Suddes: tsuddes@cleveland.com, 216-408-9474

October 19, 2020 Posted by | election USA 2020, politics | Leave a comment