As the world’s nuke reactors begin to fall, none crumbles faster than FirstEnergy’s infamous Davis-Besse, near Toledo.  But Ohio citizens now have a good chance to shut it down---if we act quickly. You can start by contacting the PUCO directly, as below.
  Those of you who want Davis-Besse shut can write the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio at Use this label in the subject line of the email, as well as the body of the email message, so PUCO can route the public comments to the correct proceeding: OPPOSITION COMMENT UNDER CASE # 14-1297-EL-SSO.
  FirstEnergy wants the PUCO to rubber-stamp a $3 billion-plus bailout for Davis-Besse and a decrepit 50-year-old coal burner.
  It’s a scam.
  The company says DB is needed for “baseload” power. But it’s a nonsensical smokescreen rooted in obsolete models meant only to profit the utility.
  FirstEnergy is in the business of making money, not serving the public, and Davis-Besse has been the ultimate cash cow. The ransom FE demands could otherwise fund a renewable revolution, generating billions in revenue and creating thousands of Ohio jobs at no risk to the public.
  When Davis-Besse blows up---and the odds are high that it will---the public will bear virtually the entire burden. Northern Ohio and the Great Lakes region will become a radioactive wasteland.
  But FE has liability limited by the Price-Anderson Act of 1957, which protects reactor owners from the radioactive disasters they create.
  Every homeowner’s insurance policy in the US specifically exempts damage from a melt-down at a reactor like Davis-Besse. Should the worst occur, FirstEnergy would be responsible for a bare fraction of the damage. The utility's management would not be held personally responsible (no one from Tepco has been prosecuted at Fukushima). And you, your family and your friends and neighbors would be left essentially with nothing except a horrifying nightmare of radioactive loss.
  The litany of problems at Davis-Besse that could lead to such a disaster is long and unique. Designed by Babcock & Wilcox, it’s a clone of Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island, which melted in 1979. TMI’s owners actually sued DB’s owners for not previously disclosing the technical realities of an accident that might have helped TMI’s owners avoid their melt-down.
  Along the way DB suffered an astonishing array of set-backs, and was rated as the worst-performing commercial reactor IN ALL THE WORLD.
  But in 2002 it outdid even itself.
  For years DB had been leaking boric acid. Because its owners had lobbied to postpone a previous inspection, the leak had time to eat through all but a fraction of an inch of the stainless steel pressure vessel. The hole it created was as big as a pineapple.
  The core's tremendous pressure---over a ton per square inch---could have burst that thin 3/8 inch stainless steel, which was not structurally designed to withstand pressure like that. A Chernobyl-sized disaster was possible, contaminating millions and doing billions in damage to people and the environment. Virtually none of which would have been paid by the owners.
  Since then the reactor has been periodically shut for months on end. Three separate operations have been performed at DB that have no counterpart anywhere else on Earth. Holes have been punched through the containment, spare parts pasted on, and the reactor essentially strung together with bailing twine.
  In 2003 DB was also at the center of a catastrophic FE blackout that shut off electric supply for more than 50 million people in the northeast and Canada.
  Suffice it to say that even in a global industry now coming apart at the seams, the ramshackle realities of the Davis-Besse are uniquely disturbing.
  Two major defects now stand out. Due to the aging of its concrete and other factors, the shield wall that stands between the public and a massive immersion in radioactive fallout is physically crumbling. As explained by Kevin Kamps in our sidebar, this is not a figure of speech. The structure is literally turning to dust.
  Furthermore, new steam generators installed by FE within the past two years are illegal. Reactor licenses say that when parts are replaced, the new ones must be identical to those described in the original license. But FE chose to make changes in their new generators and to avoid public hearings by not filing for license alterations, as required by law.
  Such deception led to the shut-down of two large reactors at San Onofre, California. But so far its been ignored at DB. Kevin’s sidebar deals with that as well.
  The bottom line for Ohio is that FE is deploying its enormous financial/political clout to ram through a massive soaking of the ratepayers in support of a nuke that could be collapsing as you read this.
  The rate hike is framed in complex terms, which are explained in the side-bar by attorney Terry Lodge.
  But essentially, the scam goes like this:
  FE now demands the PUCO grant it the rate hike.
  If that fails, it will go to the courts to overrule the agency.
  If that fails, FE will go to the legislature to re-regulate the state’s utilities.
  It’ll then go back to the PUCO to get the rate hike.
  It’s essential that grassroots opposition be powerful and relentless.
  Every moment Davis-Besse continues to operate poses a lethal threat to millions of humans and the entire Great Lakes region. Of all the reactors in the world, it may well be the most dangerous.
  Citizen activism has shut five reactors in the US in the past several years. Quebec's Gentilly 2 also shut in December, 2012. Many more---including five in Illinois---are on a parallel brink of shut-down.
  Bailing out DB and all these other dying nukes will lock us into a death spiral of fossil/nuke obsolescence. A Solartopian revolution in renewable energy is overtaking dying utilities like FE, which can only hold on with massive illegitimate handouts like this one.
  The PUCO has just turned down parallel requests from American Electric Power to get bailouts at two obsolete coal burners. But the Commission left the door open for possible reversals. Additional bailouts have been requested by Duke Power for coal burners of its own.
  The Commission has already held a series of bitterly contested public hearings in northern Ohio on FE’s bailout demands for Davis-Besse nuke and W.H. Sammis coal burner. On Monday, April 13, it begins evidentiary hearings here in Columbus. They are open to the public, but not to public testimony.  They may last several weeks.
  We will gather the day before, Sunday, April 12, 1-6pm, to discuss strategy. The next day we will rally at the Statehouse and march to the PUCO to attend the hearings, and we’ll stage a press event of our own.
  Be with us. The state, region and planet you save will be your own.