Ohio House Passes Bill Aimed at Nuclear Power Development

by J.D. Davidson


The Ohio House wants to move forward with nuclear energy development while criminal proceedings continue from a bribery scandal that involved nuclear plants and the former speaker of the House.

The House recently passed House Bill 434, which would create the Ohio Nuclear Development Authority within the Ohio Department of Development. The authority would be made up of nine members, all appointed by the governor with input from industry groups.

The bill now is in the Senate.

“In recent years, there has been a global shift in attitudes toward the development of new nuclear technologies to deploy scalable clean energy,” Rep. Dick Stein, R-Norwalk, said. “This legislation will bring Ohio to the forefront of advanced nuclear innovation and strengthen our domestic supply chains. This legislation is a proactive measure to tell the federal government Ohio is here to be a solution to find a clean, carbon-free energy source.”

The new authority, according to a news release, would be responsible for the development of advanced nuclear reactor commercialization, isotope production and nuclear waste reduction.

The nuclear industry, the General Assembly and FirstEnergy have been embroiled over the past two years in the fallout from House Bill 6, which raised consumer rates and provided billions of dollars in bailouts for the state’s two nuclear power plants.

Former Ohio Speaker of the House Larry Householder faces federal bribery and racketeering charges in the $60 million scandal that led to the passage of House Bill 6.

Householder, who maintains his innocence, eventually was expelled from the House.

Also charged were former Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges, lobbyist Neil Clark, the Oxley Group co-founder Juan Cespedes and strategist John Longstreth.

FirstEnergy, based in Akron, admitted it conspired with public officials, others and entities to pay millions of dollars to public officials in exchange for specific official action to help FirstEnergy. It also admitted it paid millions to an elected state public official through the official’s alleged nonprofit in return for the official pursuing nuclear legislation to FirstEnergy’s benefit.

FirstEnergy also agreed to repay $306 million to consumers as part of settlement with the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel.

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J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist at The Center Square with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.

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