July 23, 2020 Read More →

Massive Ohio corruption scandal imperils nuclear power prospects

RT Novosti:

Ohio’s $60 million corruption, bribery case – that has ensnared the House speaker and four others – has also embroiled the nuclear power industry, which is at the heart of the criminal charges filed this week.

The nuclear energy sector in the United States has been trying to keep its head above water — unable to compete with cheap shale gas and subsidized wind and solar power. So, it has sought help from state governments, which have taken up legislation to reward nuclear for being a carbon-free source of energy. In the case of Ohio, it is home to FirstEnergy, which owns two nuclear power plants in the state and which asked lawmakers for such consideration. 

Ohio’s lawmakers, like those from Connecticut, Illinois, New York and New Jersey, voted to save their nuclear power plants not just because they are reliable and clean but also because they employ thousands of people. In Ohio, it was a $1.3 billion bailout package. What the citizens of Ohio learned this week, however, is that $60 million in surreptitious payments were allegedly made to make that happen and part of that money went into the pockets of House Speaker Larry Householder.

“FirstEnergy’s successful campaign last year to secure a $1 billion bailout of its Ohio nuclear plants is at the center of a pay-to-play scandal that is rocking Ohio,” says Sandy Buchanan and Seth Feaster, of the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis. “The FBI would do well to take a closer look at all other state government-official involvement with FirstEnergy during the years when FirstEnergy was seeking a ‘legislative solution’ to save its nuclear plants.” 

[Ken Silverstein]

More: Ohio’s $60 million bribery scandal could ensnare the American nuclear sector, because public trust is undermined

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