By Harvey Wasserman
The Supreme Court has just now certified the deadliest and most economically destructive scam of the entire Trump catastrophe.
Every downwind American is now threatened with deadly radiation while state after state bankrupts itself with soaring electric bills and ecological disaster, crippling the Solartopian green energy revolution.
It is, in short, the “hole in the head” wave of massive state-based nuke bailouts.
All across the US, brain-dead Trumpist legislatures are scamming public billions into dying nuke reactors that pose the #1 threat to human survival on this planet.
All the world’s 440 reactors (98 in the US) are decrepit, crumbling, ready to blow. They’re uninspected, under-maintained, filthy, falling apart. They emit massive quantities of heat and radiation that cause climate chaos. Most are huge money-losers that can’t compete with green Solartopian technologies.
They are epitomized by Ohio’s infamous “hole in the head” Davis-Besse nuke, currently crumbling outside Toledo. In keeping with the Luddite wave now sweeping Trumpnation, the Ohio legislature may soon fork over billions to keep it running toward the ultimate failure.
The state-based nuke bailout craze actually started with New York governor Andrew Cuomo.
In 2016-2017, he began gouging the Empire State for some $7.6 billion to underwrite four dying upstate nukes. All lose mega-cash while killing countless jobs by raising electric rates and blocking renewables.
Wind, solar, batteries and LED/efficiency were set to make the Empire state both energy independent and fully employed. But Cuomo is blocking that by scamming ratepayers as far away as Long Island who get zero juice from the nukes they’re being forced to subsidize.
Cuomo originally promised the payouts would soon decline. Instead, they rose $50 million this year, even beyond the original bailout scam.
The Illinois legislature is doing the same for three downstate reactors. New Jersey and Pennsylvania are contemplating a similar suicide.
But Ohio may top them all.
Center stage is FirstEnergy’s infamous money-losing Davis-Besse “hole-in-the-head” nuke near Toledo. Its bankrupt owner’s precursor blacked out the entire Northeast in 2003. FE says without a gargantuan bailout, DB will shut by 2021.
So the gerrymandered GOP legislature may soon gouge tax/ratepayers some $300 million/year to keep DB and the nearby Perry reactor open, dooming the state’s remnant rust belt economy.
DB dumps its waste heat into Lake Erie, between Toledo and Cleveland. A 1977 accident portended what destroyed its clone, Three Mile Island Unit Two, on March 28, 1979. TMI2’s owners later sued because lessons learned at DB that might’ve helped them avoid their own disaster were not passed on.
In 2002, news of a hole in DB’s head astonished the industry. Dripping boric acid had eaten nearly through the reactor vessel head. Cleveland and the Great Lakes were 3/5ths of an inch from permanent irradiation.
Rather than shut permanently, FE spent millions on a “fix” that failed. Then they cut through the containment and glued on a badly-fitted head from an unfinished Michigan reactor canceled by citizen action.
Shoddy construction and faulty maintenance have perforated the building meant to shield the public from DB’s radiation. Its operating/maintenance costs soar while it can’t compete with methane.
But it’s wind that Ohio’s nuke-loving lawmakers most hate. “North coast” breezes blow steadily over flat agricultural land filled with transmission lines. Farmers are desperate for the steady income turbines can bring, especially when sited so close to urban consumers. More than $4 billion in private funding is pending for Ohio wind farms, guaranteeing billions in longterm revenue and thousands of secure jobs.
But in 2015, FE’s bought lawmakers concocted a setback provision meant to kill those projects. Other midwestern/Great Plains states are now filling with cheap nature-based electricity. But anti-wind Ohio may now bury its fiscal future with unsustainable electric rates.
No help from the Trump-run Nuclear Regulatory Commission
All reactors spew carbon 14 along with huge quantities of hot water and steam that warm the planet and kill trillions of marine creatures. Their cooling towers kill countless birds. All American reactors (except Watts Bar) are more than twenty years old; some are more than forty.
Now the Trump-run Nuclear Regulatory Commission says it may simply stop inspecting these older reactors just as they most need it. They want owners to stop informing the public of mishaps just as they become more frequent and dangerous.
The terrifying escalation of reactor disasters has risen from the near-miss at Michigan’s Fermi One (1966) to the melt-down at TMI (1979) to the mega-explosion at Chernobyl (1986) to the three melt-downs/four explosions at Fukushima.
After that 2011 disaster, NRC staff compiled upgrades to guard against another one. But the Trump Commission killed them all, leaving the fleet even more dangerous than before Fukushima.
When the next big reactor blows, industry hacks like Ann Coulter will be all over Fox explaining that radiation is good and that plutonium is pixie dust that really won’t harm our kids.
But the ghastly death tolls at TMI, Chernobyl, and Fukushima say otherwise.
The Supreme Court Bailouts are disastrous.
Based on the insane claim that nukes deserve “zero emission credits,” the Supreme Court has cleared the way for still more of these insane bailouts.
Grassroots Solartopians are fighting back. Ohio’s bailout has been held off for years, and may yet fail. They’ve petitioned California Governor Gavin Newsom to independently inspect Diablo Canyon.
They’ve also poured into the bankruptcy court, where FirstEnergy’s inabilities are on global display alongside those of California’s Pacific Gas & Electric, the money-losing behemoth that in 2010 killed eight people with badly maintained pipelines, then killed eighty more with badly maintained power lines that incinerated an entire ecosystem, including 12,000 structures.
The uncaring incompetence of this dying industry and its technology of death guarantee that unless these bailouts stop, far worse is yet to come.
Harvey Wasserman’s Green Power & Wellness Show is podcast at prn.fm; California Solartopia is broadcast at KPFK-Pacifica, 90.7 fm, Los Angeles. His Life & Death Spiral of US History: From Deganawidah to Solartopia will soon be at www.solartopia.org.
This article appeared on April 18 at Reader Supported News.