TMI Update: Jan 14, 2024


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Nuclear Regulatory Commission - News Release
No: 24-026 April 23, 2024
CONTACT: Scott Burnell, 301-415-8200
 
NRC to Issue Proposed Generic Environmental Impact Statement for New Reactors
 
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has directed the staff to issue for public comment a proposed Generic Environmental Impact Statement rulemaking that is intended for potential use by applicants and the agency during new nuclear reactor licensing.
 
The NRC is proposing a technology-neutral approach for the GEIS to cover different reactor designs. It would cover any new nuclear reactor application meeting the parameters used to develop the GEIS. The proposed GEIS would streamline the environmental reviews for future new nuclear reactors by presenting generic environmental impacts for those designs that fit within certain site and plant parameters. If the rule is finalized, new reactor license applications would supplement applicable generic environmental findings with evaluation of project-specific issues.
 
The NRC will seek public comment on the proposed rule following its publication in the Federal Register. Public meetings and other methods to submit comments will be publicized when the proposed rule is published.

24-026.pdf

Nuclear Information and Resource Service

Dear Eric, 

Welcome to the Spring edition of the NIRS Newsletter! ICYMI (in case you missed it), we have some important updates and news to share with you this month, so let's dive right in.

1. Legislative Updates: S. 1111 and H.R. 6544

We continue to closely monitor the progress of bills S. 1111 and H.R. 6544, which threaten to undermine nuclear safety regulations and promote further nuclear expansion in the U.S. and around the world. These bills represent a dangerous step backward in our fight for a clean, renewable energy future. We urge you to stay informed and take action to oppose these bills.

2. In The News:

  • "Renewable Energy Shatters Records in the U.S." - Check out this insightful article from Scientific American highlighting the unprecedented growth of renewable energy sources in the United States. Read more
  • "Oppenheimer Japan Premiere: Christopher Nolan Sheds Light on Hiroshima and Nagasaki" - This thought-provoking piece from Vox explores the cultural significance of Christopher Nolan's latest film and its portrayal of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Read more
  • "Biden is marking Earth Day by announcing $7 billion in federal solar power grants" - Celebrating Earth Day wins with new federal funding of renewables. Read more
  • "These 18 Utah cities and towns still want clean energy, even as RMP backs off" - Communities in Utah plan to find their own clean power sources after utility recommits to coal. Read more

3. In The Movement:

  • Save RECA Campaign Gains Momentum - Join the #SaveRECA movement and stand up for justice for victims of radiation exposure. Together, we can fight for the extension and expansion of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. Stay informed and get involved HERE.
  • Spring into Action with NIRS - As we celebrate Earth Day this month (April 22nd), you can spring into action and help support NIRS in our mission to promote a renewable energy future for all. Whether it's donating, forwarding this email and getting others to sign up for our email list, or sharing our social media posts–every action counts! #RenewableEnergy #EarthDay #NoMoreNuclear #NoFalseSolutions
  • April 26th marks the 38th anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster - What has changed in the landscape of nuclear energy safety since this meltdown? Turns out, not much–in fact, we have seen many recent rollbacks on safety measures in the US, first proposed during COVID-19 restrictions and continued in legislation like the Senate bill S.1111 and House bill H.R. 6544. 
  • Experience the powerful story of Radioactive: The Women of Three Mile Island - Now available for streaming on Apple TV and Amazon Prime. Explore the untold truths of nuclear energy, its impact, and the voices of those affected. #RadioactiveFilm

4. DUE MIDNIGHT TONIGHT!! Time Is Running Out! Take Action: Submit Your Comments on HALEU Acquisition

The Department of Energy is currently seeking public comments on the acquisition of High-Assay Low-Enriched Uranium (HALEU, “hay-loo”). This radioactive material poses serious risks to public health and the environment. We urge you to submit your comments to DOE EIS Document Manager James Lovejoy and voice your opposition to this dangerous acquisition.

Thank you for your continued support and dedication to our cause. Together, we can build a safer, cleaner, and more sustainable energy future for all.

  

Join the fight and follow us on social media!

Help us reach our matching grant today!

In solidarity,  

The NIRS Team 

Diane D’Arrigo 

Denise Jakobsberg 

Tim Judson 

Ann McCann 

… NEWS MEDIA AND DAYBOOK ADVISORY FOR APRIL 23, 2024 …
 
REPORT: NATIONAL SECURITY RISKS OF NEW NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS

Small Modular Reactor Projects Fuel National and International Security Risks
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – NEWS ADVISORY – A new report from nuclear expert Sharon Squassoni from the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University (GW) analyzes the national security risks of new nuclear reactor projects proposed for the U.S. and abroad. The GW report will be released during a live video-based news event on Tuesday, April 23rd.
 
WHY
Renewed interest in nuclear energy as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions led to the United States and 21 other countries pledging in 2023 to triple nuclear energy by 2050. They devoted zero attention to the national security implications of such a huge expansion. Drone strikes against Ukrainian nuclear power plants are the most recent example of nuclear plant vulnerabilities, but other national security risks will accompany significant nuclear growth, including nuclear weapons proliferation, energy insecurity and nuclear terrorism.  Small modular reactors will not reduce those risks.
 
 
WHO
News event speakers will be:
·Report author Sharon Squassoni, research professor, Elliott School of International Affairs. After serving in the State Department, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and the Congressional Research Service, Squassoni has focused research on reducing risks from nuclear energy and nuclear weapons at GWU.  A member of Pugwash, she sits on the boards of the PIR Center, the Wisconsin Project, and the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation. She recently co-founded the Climate-Security Initiative.
 
·Jane Nakano and Dr. Mariana Budjeryn will comment on the report.  Nakano is senior fellow at the Center for Strategic & International Studies and an expert on energy and climate change. Budjeryn is senior researcher at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center and author of Inheriting the Bomb: The Collapse of the USSR and the Nuclear Disarmament of Ukraine.
·Stephanie Cooke, former editor of Nuclear Intelligence Weekly and author of In Mortal Hands: A Cautionary History of the Nuclear Age, will moderate the session.
 
WHAT/WHEN
A live, two-way video-based news conference with full Q&A on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, at 1 p.m. EDT. A streaming version of the news event will be available later that same day at bit.ly/NewNuclearSecurityReport.
 
WHERE
RSVP to participate in the news event by registering here. Reporters will be provided a link to participate directly in the event, including the Q&A period. Reporters who elect to participate by a traditional dial-up phone call will be in a listen-only mode for the Q&A period and can pose questions after the fact. The Q&A period will be reserved for members of the news media only.
 
MEDIA CONTACT:
Alex Frank at (703) 276-3264 or afrank@hastingsgroupmedia.com.
 
 
###

The Elliott School is one of the world’s leading schools of international affairs. Located in the heart of Washington, D.C., its mission is to educate the next generation of international leaders, conduct research that advances understanding of important global issues and engage the policy community in the United States and around the world. 

https://www.lohud.com/story/news/ny-news/2024/04/18/holtec-sues-ny-to-overturn-ban-on-radiological-water-in-hudson-river/73370923007/

NY NEWS
Indian Point owner sues NY to overturn law banning radiological water in Hudson River
Thomas C. Zambito New York State Team
 
The owners of the shuttered Indian Point nuclear power plant sued the state of New York today, claiming a law banning the discharge of radiological water into the Hudson River is a “blatant infringement” of the federal government’s role in nuclear safety.
 
The lawsuit filed by Holtec International in U.S. District Court in Manhattan asks a judge to declare a law signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul in August unconstitutional.
 
It claims the measure, backed by Democratic lawmakers from the lower Hudson Valley, was billed as a way to protect real estate values in river towns when the true intent was to regulate radiological health and safety.
 
“This false pretense does not change the fact that the State is attempting to regulate matters with a direct effect on radiological safety,” the lawsuit says.
 
 
Earlier versions of the bill mentioned possible health risks caused by exposure to radiological material. The final version did not.
 
Months after the law was signed, Holtec announced that if it wasn’t allowed to dump a million gallons of radiological water used to cool nuclear fuel into the Hudson it would need another eight years to tear down the plant, extending its timetable to 2041.
 
 
“The failure of New York State to respect Federal Law, and follow the facts and science of the issue, left us no other means for remedy,” Holtec said in a statement issued today. “The passage of the bill has already delayed the planned completion of the decommissioning of Indian Point an additional 8 years, which hurts the local community’s desire to see the project completed and the property returned as an asset for economic development in the region.  We look forward to the legal process moving along on this important decision.”
 
 
Environmental groups, including Riverkeeper, claimed the best course was to house the water on the 240-acre site in Buchanan.
 
But radiation scientists told the USA Today Network last year the low levels of tritium that would be released into the water posed no danger to public health. The plant’s previous owners had used the Hudson to make similar discharges during the nearly 60 years the plant was in operation.
 
A Hochul spokeswoman declined to comment on the lawsuit

https://www.pravda.com.ua/eng/news/2024/04/17/7451608/

Ukraine to manufacture components for small modular reactors

ECONOMICHNA PRAVDA — WEDNESDAY, 17 APRIL 2024, 10:56

Ukraine to manufacture components for small modular reactors

PHOTO: ENERGY MINISTRY

Ukraine will be manufacturing components for small modular reactors, as Ukraine's state nuclear energy regulator Energoatom and Holtec International have signed an agreement to that effect.

Source: Ukraine’s Energy Ministry

Quote: "The agreement involves the establishment of facilities in Ukraine for the production and manufacture of nuclear systems, structures, and components for small modular reactors, as well as storage and transport systems for spent nuclear fuel. It also covers other needs for the use of nuclear energy in Ukraine and other countries in the region," the ministry said.
 

The document was signed by Petro Kotin, Head of Energoatom, and Kris Singh, President and CEO of Holtec International, in the presence of Minister of Energy German Galushchenko. 

Kotin thanked Holtec for a successful cooperation over the years. 

"This agreement is important not only for Energoatom but also for Ukraine's entire energy sector and the domestic economy. It is the first step towards strengthening cooperation over many years. Establishing nuclear energy production facilities in the country will contribute not only to strengthening the country's energy security but also to Ukraine becoming a global leader in various areas of nuclear energy development," he said.

Kris Singh, in turn, called on the US Congress to help the people of Ukraine: "The signing of this Agreement was preceded by a devastating blow from Russia last Thursday to the power plant that supplies electricity to the Kyiv region. The Ukrainian defence, weakened by the inaction of Congress regarding the bill on financial assistance to the affected country, could not stop more than a third of the drones and missiles that destroyed the power plant. 

The restoring of the country's energy infrastructure must begin now to stop Putin's attempts to destroy Ukraine's energy capabilities completely," said the President and CEO of Holtec International.

Read also: Russia continues to destroy the Ukrainian energy infrastructure. What should Ukraine expect without thermal power plants?

Background: 

  • Energoatom has started a project to construct power units nos. 5 and 6 at the Khmelnytskyi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) using American AP1000 technology by Westinghouse. The first concrete cube for power unit no. 5 has already been laid.

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4682242-nuscale-power-shows-too-many-red-flags?mailingid=34945002&messageid=must_reads&serial=34945002.2465351&utm_campaign=email_mr%3Aevergreen_lp_premium_test_eligible_feb2024%2B2024-04-05&utm_content=seeking_alpha&utm_medium=email&utm_source=seeking_alpha&utm_term=must_reads_free_eligible

NuScale Power Shows Too Many Red Flags

Apr. 04, 2024 6:00 PM ET NuScale Power Corporation (SMR) Stock

Manuel Paul Dipold

Summary

  • NuScale Power is a company working on small-scale nuclear reactors, but there are red flags including an unclear timeline, competition, and a CEO who sold all his shares.
  • There are already functioning small modular reactors in Russia and China, with over 80 different designs worldwide, posing significant competition for NuScale.
  • NuScale's cash reserves are low, and the company will need new liquidity soon, while the CEO's sale of all his shares raises concerns.

Investment thesis

NuScale Power (NYSE:SMR) is working on what appears to be an exciting product that will probably be in great demand in the future: small-scale nuclear reactors. The story is good, but a closer analysis reveals several red flags, such as an unclear timeline, a lot of competition, soon-to-be-depleted cash, and a CEO who recently sold 100% of his shares.

Company overview

NuScale's IPO was in May 2022 and is headquartered in Portland, Oregon. The company researches a new kind of nuclear power: small and modular. The company describes its "VOYGR" light-water reactors as "the future of nuclear" and says they are suitable for power generation, hydrogen production, or water desalination. According to the company, the system is designed to be modularly expandable and only needs to be refueled with new uranium every 24 months. The modular design offers many advantages: Locally flexible, easily transported by ship, train, or truck, and very safe (according to the company). Further advantages are also summarised in this article from the International Atomic Energy Agency:

 

Given their smaller footprint, SMRs can be sited on locations not suitable for larger nuclear power plants. Prefabricated units of SMRs can be manufactured and then shipped and installed on site, making them more affordable to build than large power reactors, which are often custom designed for a particular location, sometimes leading to construction delays. SMRs offer savings in cost and construction time, and they can be deployed incrementally to match increasing energy demand.

What are Small Modular Reactors (SMRs)? (IAEA)

IAEA Large, modular and micro reactors

Large, modular and micro reactors (IAEA)

Nuclear industry overview

Nuclear energy has experienced a revival in recent years. It is now clear and becoming increasingly clear to the politicians responsible that renewable energies alone will not be enough. They are too volatile, and storing the surplus energy is not easy or expensive. Therefore, a constant base of continuously generated energy is needed. Nuclear energy is the ideal solution in combination with the endeavor to reduce CO2 emissions. In addition, nuclear energy is comparatively very safe regarding direct and indirect fatalities.

grams of CO2 per energy source
According to Statista, around 60 new nuclear power plants are currently under construction worldwide.
nuclear power plants in build 2024

The current state of SMRs

These are excellent prerequisites for small modular reactors. There is a general interest in nuclear energy, and its advantages are undisputed. If SMRs turn out to be more practical and cheaper to build or operate, these systems should have a golden future ahead of them.

However, many people are unaware of, and every interested reader of this article should know, that some SMRs are already in operation (in Russia and China), and many more are under construction or in planning. According to the IAEA, there are around 80 different designs worldwide. In other words, this area has massive competition, and some of the competition is already much more advanced than NuScale Power.

 

There are more than eighty (80) SMR designs under development and deployment at different stages in 18 Member States (...) The Akademik Lomonosov floating power unit in the Russian Federation with two-module KLT-40S was connected to the grid in December 2019 and started commercial operation in May 2020. The HTR-PM demonstrator in China was connected to the grid in December 2021 and is expected to reach full power operation by the end of 2022. The CAREM25 in Argentina is under construction and is expected to reach first criticality in 2026. The construction of ACP100 in China started in July 2021 and is targeted to start commercial  operation by the end of 2026. The construction of BREST-OD-300 in Russian Federation began in June 2021 and is planned to be completed in 2026.

"Advances in Small Modular Reactor Technology Developments" (IAEA´s 420-page booklet)

In this document, on page 12, there is a list of various systems and the stages of planning or construction they are at. Many systems originate from Russia or China, but numerous US-based systems also exist. Although many are still in the design phase and not yet beyond that, it shows that there could be intense competition in this area, so small companies with limited cash could have a hard time. Here is an excerpt:

Advances in Small Modular Reactor Technology Developments modular reactors
IAEA

In which phase are NuScale´s reactors?

According to this article from MIT Technology Review, the NuScale design for a reactor module that generates 50 MW of electricity has already been certified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). But during the certification process, NuScale´s engineers changed the design again so that in the future a module will produce 77 MW instead of 50 MW. I added the bold text below.

“We found that we could actually produce more power with the same reactor, the same exact size,” says Jose Reyes, cofounder and chief technology officer at NuScale. Instead of 50 MW, the company found that each module could produce 77 MW. So the company changed course. For its first power plant, which will be built at the Idaho National Laboratory, NuScale is planning to package six of the higher-capacity reactors together, making the plant capacity 462 MW in total. The upgraded power rating requires some adjustments, but the module design is fundamentally the same. Still, it means that the company needed to resubmit updated plans to the NRC, which it did last month. It could take up to two years before the altered plans are approved by the agency and the company can move on to site approval, Reyes says.

We were promised smaller nuclear reactors. Where are they? (MIT)

The above article is from 2023, so it fits the timeline in the latest investor presentation; the company writes that the new design should be approved by July 2025. Overall, it is still a slowdown for the company.

NuScale approval timeline

To summarise, this means that the latest design has not yet been approved, and even if it is approved, this does not mean that it will go online quickly after that. It is not yet clear when the first modules will be ready to produce energy and generate revenue (after all, this is what investors are waiting for). The company has previously discussed the middle of this decade, but I can't find any dates in the latest documents. For me, this means that the company itself does not know; otherwise, this would be stated in the investor presentation.

NuScale´s numbers and financial trends

Total expenses are on an upward trend, while revenues are tiny at this point. In 2023, they generated $22.8M, which "arises from engineering and licensing services provided to potential customers" (10-K page 41). Additionally, in 2023, the company earned $10.8M interest on its cash.

Chart

In the latest Investor presentation, the company states that the net loss was $56.4M in Q4 2023. The cash position is about $125M, which means the remaining cash will only be sufficient for 2 or 3 more quarters.

nuscale loss and cash

The number of fully diluted shares is 262.8M * $5.5 (current share price) = $1.45B market cap.

NuScale outstanding shares

As always, when there is no revenue but only the hope of a future business opportunity, it is tough to assess a valuation. Does the company deserve its $1.45B market cap? There is no clear yes or no answer to this question, but this is the figure that the current market attributes to the company. Therefore, this article focuses more on the general challenges and red flags that arise when analyzing the company. We are seeing that the market is slowly losing confidence in the company, and the stock is in a sustained downtrend, which is not surprising given the negative news, especially the issues I will mention in the next heading.

Chart

Share dilution, insider trades & SBCs

Given the above graphic about the fully diluted shares, we can see that only the Class A Shares are included below: those jumped in 2022 and continue to rise. Given the quarterly losses to date and the company's cash position, the company will need new liquidity quite soon, which could lead to more dilution for all existing shareholders.

Chart

These are all insider trades from the last six months. What stands out here is that the CEO, John L Hopkins, recently sold 100% of his shares. I have also not read any reports that he will soon give up his position as CEO or that there will be any other management changes. Of course, this sale could also have personal reasons that we are not aware of, but it is rare to see a CEO sell 100% of his shares.

SMR insider trades

openinsider

Conclusion

The analysis of this company reveals several red flags:

- The company's cash reserves are not particularly high, and the company will soon need new liquidity, so all indications are that the share dilution will continue

- The CEO has recently sold 100% of his shares

- The company gives no indication (at least not an obvious one) as to when the first system will be up and running, producing power and generating revenue

- The company states that business opportunities exist worldwide (Investor presentation page 5). A closer analysis shows that there are already functioning systems in several countries and massive competition in this area: there are more than 80 different SMR systems. I therefore doubt that these business opportunities exist worldwide: it is much more likely that NuScale will not be able to compete on price with the competition from Russia and China.

- The Q4 + full year 2023 presentation contains only 12 pages, and the latest general Investor presentation is only 22 pages. Also, the report in text form is very short. Overall, the potentials are discussed, as well as the need for clean energy and a growing energy demand. But there are not many hard facts with clear timelines.

- Overall, it is unclear how much potential there is on the market for small reactors and what long-term sales opportunities there are. These systems will still compete with larger nuclear reactors and renewable energy storage systems, which might become more and more attractive (due to falling prices) in the future. It is unclear if the combination of solar + storage might be cheaper in 2035. The point is, there are a lot of questions - too many for my taste.

So, what will happen to the share price? Given the almost unbroken downtrend of the past year and the many challenges this company seems to have, I think it will likely shed more of its $1.45B market capitalization. In my view, this is a shorting opportunity with an attractive risk/reward ratio.

Risks to my short thesis

There are general and company-specific risks to short-selling shares: Borrowing shares costs a percentage fee, which can be considerable, especially for smaller companies, and should be checked in advance. Theoretically, short-selling shares has infinite loss potential. Therefore, this stock market tool should be used very carefully and only if you are familiar with it. Regarding NuScale specifically, it could be that the future certification process goes faster than previously anticipated, which could lead to a sudden rise in the share price. Furthermore, it could be that the company achieves another technological breakthrough or wins a major contract from private companies or the government. A new partnership with another company would also be positive news for the company. Furthermore, the company has announced cost reduction measures to save $50M - $60M annually, which could lead to a lower cash burn and slower future share issuance.

All these possibilities could improve investor sentiment and lead to a sudden rise in the share price. Also, it should be noted that shares with a lower market capitalization are usually more volatile.

This article was written by

My focus is on a total return style with long and short positions (10-30% short positions). My main expertise is the current technological and geopolitical shift with the amazing investment opportunities they offer. Therefore, I always try to find stocks or whole sectors with favorable risk-reward structures. My long investment style is a core-satellite strategy: The core consists of large caps and/or ETFs. The satellites around this core are small caps, potential 10-baggers, and undervalued stocks. In short selling, I focus on overvalued stocks that will fall back down sooner or later. My name is Manuel Paul Dipold. Born in Germany but lived 8 years in Asia. I am myself an entrepreneur and have many entrepreneur friends. I am not a professional investor but it´s a hobby I love. So I know Europe and Asia very well and seek undervalued or high-growth stocks - always with valuation, geopolitical and social shifts in mind.

Analyst’s Disclosure: I/we have no stock, option or similar derivative position in any of the companies mentioned, but may initiate a beneficial Short position through short-selling of the stock, or purchase of put options or similar derivatives in SMR over the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Seeking Alpha's Disclosure: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. Any views or opinions expressed above may not reflect those of Seeking Alpha as a whole. Seeking Alpha is not a licensed securities dealer, broker or US investment adviser or investment bank. Our analysts are third party authors that include both professional investors and individual investors who may not be licensed or certified by any institute or regulatory body.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - News Release
No: I-24-006 April 15, 2024
CONTACT: Diane Screnci, 610-337-5330
Neil Sheehan, 610-337-5331
 
NRC Issues Order Imposing Fine to Puerto Rico Firm for Violation Involving Nuclear Gauge and Decommissioning
 
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued an order imposing a $17,500 civil penalty against a Puerto Rico firm for failing to dispose of or transfer a portable nuclear gauge and complete decommissioning of its site within the required time period.
 
Almonte Geo Services Group, based in Toa Alta, was licensed by the NRC to own and possess portable gauges containing small amounts of radioactive material. The gauges are used for such purposes as measuring the density of soil at construction sites. The NRC determined that the company initiated decommissioning in December 2019, and, under agency requirements, should have completed the process within 24 months.
 
In an inspection report issued in June 2023, the NRC documented the apparent violation and proposed the fine in November 2023. The NRC is considering additional civil penalties since Almonte has not addressed the violation.
 
The NRC has verified that the gauge is being properly secured at Almonte’s facility to prevent unauthorized access or removal.
 
 
 
by  Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
APRIL 10, 2024

Nuke and Randazzo.png

Sam Randazzo was once the Chair of the Ohio Public Utilities Commission.

Now, at 74, he’s dead by apparent suicide. 

As is the “Nuclear Renaissance.” 

Dating back many years, we often encountered Sam at energy hearings in Columbus. He was always personable and friendly as we exchanged handshakes and smiles. 

That we were totally on opposite sides of the issues was like an inside joke between us.

But he was there to lobby for the fossil/nuclear industry while we were demanding Ohio get its energy from wind and solar—which it could be doing today except for Sam and his corporate bankrollers’ highly effective often illegal back channel arm twisting.

Randazzo was always highly paid…TOO well paid, which is what led to his death in a Columbus warehouse owned by a shell company he controlled.

Apparently it was a suicide, though one can never be entirely sure when there are millions of bucks flying around in bribes. 

Because unbeknownst to us and even some of those paying him, Sam played both sides of the fence. 

According to the Ohio Capital Journal, Sam apparently "secretly skimmed millions from settlements FirstEnergy paid the big users to get them to go along with rate hikes for everybody else.”

Meaning that while Sam was on the payroll of the big industrial electrical consumers, he was also taking payoffs from the Akron-based FirstEnergy, with which they were negotiating for price breaks. 

The Journal says the "shady dealings between Randazzo and FirstEnergy... include secretly being a paid consultant for FirstEnergy while also serving as general counsel to industrial energy users who were trying to get a better deal from FirstEnergy.”

Randazzo was also indicted by state and federal authorities for his role in the biggest bribery scandal in Ohio history. 

That would be the $61 million FirstEnergy slipped to former Speaker of the Ohio House Larry Householder. Householder has been convicted of corruption and is now beginning a 20-year-sentence in federal prison. Neil Clark, another lobbyist involved in that flood of illicit money, is also dead by apparent suicide. Former FirstEnergy CEO Chuck Jones is among those indicted. 

Last year the FBI raided Randazzo’s Columbus home and walked off with boxes of documents. At primary issue was $4.3 million allegedly paid to Randazzo by FirstEnergy to help draft a bill—infamously known as HB6—meant to hand FirstEnergy more than $1 billion in bailouts for FirstEnergy’s Perry and Davis-Besse nukes.

The two reactors sit on Lake Erie...the first east of Cleveland, the second near Toledo...the pair a part of the failing US fleet of 94, all but two of which average 42 years of age.

In 2019, just after he apparently took that $4.3 million from FirstEnergy, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine made Randazzo Chair of the Public Utilities Commission (PUCO). DeWine was widely warned that Sam might not be entirely “clean.”

But once at the helm of the PUC, Randazzo made no secret of his well-known, well-paid enthusiasm for nuclear power and fossil fuels.

When citizen activists attempted to gather signatures for a referendum to overturn HB6, they were physically assaulted by paid toughs supporting atomic power. The referendum never made it to the ballot. 

But when FirstEnergy’s $61 million bribe became public, the bailout was put in abeyance. Ohio’s energy efficiency standards were still killed.

In 2014 the legislature had already killed $4 billion in confirmed private investments aiming to build wind farms across the state’s flat, windy, well-connected North Coast. 

The region by now could have been producing a substantial chunk of the state’s electricity at a fraction of the cost coming from the two nukes.

Still more could have been coming from off-shore turbines strung across Lake Erie, one of the world’s most powerful wind resources.

But with intense opposition from Governor DeWine and lobbyist/regulators like Randazzo, the state’s energy supply has remained at the expensive, planet-killing mercies of its two dangerously deteriorated nukes and Ohio’s dinosaur fossil fuel industry. 

Randazzo’s death accompanies that of new large atomic reactors in the US.

In the 21st century, two new reactors have opened at Vogtle, Georgia. Their cost has approached $40 billion, far more than double the original estimate. Neither will ever generate electricity anywhere near as cheap as wind or solar.

Likewise two more errant nukes at VC Summer in South Carolina, which sucked up $9 billion before being entirely abandoned, never to fire up at all. The four Vogtle/Summer mega-disasters combined to drive Westinghouse into bankruptcy. 

So while zealots hype a so-called “Nuclear Renaissance”, there are in fact ZERO new large atomic reactors being built in this country, and ZERO more on order.

In fact, the “Peaceful Atom”--- born in 1954 when construction began in Pennsylvania on what became a fleet of reactors promising electricity “too cheap to meter”---has come to an ignominious end.

So now the technology’s screamers are promising Small Modular Reactors, to allegedly be mass produced whenever.

In reality, nobody expects a working American SMR before 2030. Projected costs are already far in excess of renewables. Though the hype is thick, stock prices of NuScale, the most advanced of the SMR producers, have been plummeting as the company’s first major deal has collapsed. While other freebooters (including Bill Gates) line up at the federal pork trough, the industry’s delivery promises are essentially mythological. 

Thus for at least the next six years, when the need to cut carbon emissions from the energy picture is most desperate, the atomic industry has ZERO new reactors—big or small---to tangibly offer.

Instead, we all must watch in terror as the nuclear industry demands less regulation and more handouts for ill-managed, uninsured, dangerously decrepit reactors that average 42 years of age.  Demands are now flying to extend licenses for 60-80 years. But the only real question is which of these kamikaze nukes will blow up first.

And thus the tragic legacy of Sam Randazzo and his push to keep Perry and Davis-Besse corruptly on line comes full circle. The biggest bribery scandal in Ohio history skates along the edge of an apocalypse made virtually certain by prolonging operations at two incredibly dangerous money sucking dinosaur nukes, and their 92 dying siblings around the US, 400+ worldwide.

We mourn Sam’s passing. We pray his corrupt atomic legacy does not kill the rest of us.

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Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman have co-authored numerous books on election protection and other issues. Bob's Fitrakis Files and Harvey’s The People’s Spiral Of Us History are at freepress.org and solartopia.org. Most Mondays 5-7 pm ET they join the Green Grassroots Election Protection zoom via www.electionprotection2024.org. 
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