A set of bribes cast a dark shadow over North American nuclear
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- Jul 24, 2020 11:22 am GMTJul 23, 2020 11:16 pm GMT
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After decades of confused and short-sighted closures, things were finally starting to look up for North American nuclear power. Recently, legislation passed in New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Illoinois to offer subsidies to existing plants. This progress, however, is now at risk of being reversed thanks to two back-to-back bribery scandals. The development is explained in Yahoo News:
“On Tuesday, federal officials arrested the speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives on racketeering charges tied to a bailout of two nuclear plants owned by Energy Harbor Corp., a former FirstEnergy Corp. subsidiary. Four days earlier, Exelon Corp.’s Commonwealth Edison unit agreed to pay $200 million to resolve a lobbying probe in Illinois, where nuclear plants also receive aid.
The fallout in Ohio has been swift, with Democratic and Republican lawmakers calling on Wednesday for the nuclear bailout law to be repealed immediately. Shares of FirstEnergy, which received subpoenas related to the investigation, plunged 21% Wednesday, the most on record. Taken together, the two scandals could undermine future efforts by utilities to seek support from lawmakers.
Legislators are right to further examine the bailout plan and the utilities involved in light of these racketeering charges. However, they’d be wrong to let the actions of these bad faith actors derail their states’ nuclear projects for good. Despite its boogeyman status in the Hollywood movie canon, nuclear is the best shot humans have at mitigating the effects of climate change in the next 50 years. Lockup the bribsters, but please, give our steam stacks the long overdue embrace they deserve.