The Ohio Nuclear Free Network
316 North Michigan Street, Suite 520
Toledo, OH 43604-5627
March 30, 2022
For further information contact:
Terry Lodge (419) 205-7084; firstname.lastname@example.org
Patricia Marida (614) 286-4851; email@example.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OHIO HOUSE PASSES BILL CREATING SECRET NUCLEAR DEVELOPMENT AGENCY;
OPPONENTS VOW TO FIGHT ON IN SENATE
The Ohio House voted on March 23, 2022, to create a secretive Ohio Nuclear Development Authority (ONDA) to have the State of Ohio design and construct new nuclear power plants at taxpayer expense. Opponents are gearing up to block the plan in the Senate.
Calling House Bill 434 “A Radioactive Taxpayer Giveaway” using 22 strong points, members of the Ohio Nuclear Free Network (“ONFN”) accused representatives of amending the proposal to allow the activities of the Authority’s board and staff to be largely kept out of reach of open government laws.
The agency would be located in the Ohio Department of Development, which contracts with a state-created corporation, JobsOhio. There are extraordinary limitations on public access to JobsOhio information that were written into law in 2011. JobsOhio is beyond the reach of the Ohio Open Records Act, Ohio ethics laws, the Sunshine Act, the Ohio Administrative Procedure Act that governs making of regulations, and other accountability requirements.
Under HB 434, Ohioans would not know how much public money would be spent on design and construction of new nuclear reactors, who is being paid, what is being developed, where radioactive materials are being shipped, or what safeguards are in place to protect public health and prevent trafficking of radioactive materials. The Nuclear Development Authority would be more secretive than the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Department of Energy or Pentagon, all of which contract to build nuclear power plants.
Patricia Marida, the Columbus convenor of ONFN, said, “The principal design under consideration is an untested and unproven molten-salt reactor. HB 434 is specifically geared to benefit one company, eGeneration, a Cleveland firm that advocates a thorium fuel cycle.”
“Residents living near an ONDA facility handling radioactive materials would have no recourse if an accident or spill harmed or contaminated them, or their property,” said Terry Lodge, Toledo attorney. “There is no guarantee that the NRC, DOE or Pentagon will extend insurance or liability protections to experimental nuclear power plants.”
“HB 434 contains a complex sequence of appointments that would keep the public out of any role on the board of the ODNA”, stated Lee Blackburn, ONFN member from Pataskala. “There is no requirement that any ODNA board member represent any particular constituency, nor does it bar board members from benefitting by awarding contracts to businesses they own.
The Ohio Nuclear Free Network will be working to convince senators to see House Bill 434 as dangerous, overpriced, and unneeded. Nuclear power takes years to build, while renewables like solar and wind are far less expensive and ready to go now.