The Advanced Nuclear Technology Helping Energize Mankind (ANTHEM) Act

1.     One company benefits from HB 104.  The original version of HB 104and its predecessor HB 771tell a more complete story of the actors behind this bill. A single small private entity, eGeneration of Cleveland, had a heavy hand in writing the bill and is its major beneficiary. Language on their website confirmed this.  

2.     The intent is to build Thorium and/or molten salt reactors.  eGeneration and Energy from Thorium Foundation are two organizations made up of the same few individuals. The Energy from Thorium Foundationbecame the eGeneration Foundation in 2015. Though mention of eGeneration and Thorium has been removed, HB 104 is still about eGeneration developing a molten salt and/or a Thorium “advanced” nuclear reactor.  The nuclear industry is trying to rebrand itself as new and innovative using terms like “advanced.” No Thorium reactor has been built because no private entity will finance it. 

3.     Reprocessing of High Level Radioactive Waste (HLRW)is necessary to obtain the fuel for a Thorium reactor.  HB 104 uses the term “recycling” to refer to a technology that turns HLRW into a much-harder-to-contain and more voluminous liquid in order to extract radioactive components. Reprocessing has been a disaster wherever it has occurred:West Valley, NY; Sellafield, England; Rokkasho, Japan; La Hague,France; Kyshtymin Russia. This is how radioactivity is “reduced” in recycling.     

4.     Major shift of nuclear accountability.  Spreading nuclear research and development from federal to state entities and/or public-private partnerships is unprecedented, removing public accountability for cost and safety while retaining public liability, as well as losing regulatory control over radioactive materials and waste.

5.     Ohioans would pay for nuclear “cleanup.”  Since the proposed Nuclear Development Authority (NDA) will be a public entity, Ohio would be responsible for any and all costs associated with the NDA, including reactor decommissioning, dismantling and disposal of waste and damages resulting from spills and accidents.

6.     Because Wall Street Won’t Touch it, all nuclear research, development and construction now depends on government and/or ratepayer handouts, safety compromises and government indemnity from liability. HB 104 sets up multiple ways for nuclear research and development to be subsidized by taxpayers.  Calling a project a “demonstration” or “experimental” paves the way for the entire funding to be borne by taxpayers. The original bill says “may build one or more demonstration power-producing nuclear reactors located in this state.”    

7.     More taxpayer costs and use of eminent domain (public necessity):  The current version of the bill calls the new Authority “an essential governmental function…for which public moneys may be spent and private property acquired.”  The paves the way for eminent domain to be exercised by the new Authority (NDA.)

8.     Strange and incompatible twists.  The NDA would be within in the Ohio Department of Commerce.  All NDA activity would be authorized and regulated by 9 governor-appointed board members. The NDA’s far-reaching regulatory and commerce-promoting functions are irretrievably incompatible.

9.     Weapons proliferation risk, dangerous comingling of military and civilian nuclear activities. The military wants to reprocess HLRW to extract plutonium and uranium-233 for bombs. Thorium reactors would produce U-233,a fissionable uranium isotope, as waste. This technology could be imitated and spread. See Beyond Nuclear’s “Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing equals Weapons Proliferation.”

10.  How about a real solution for Ohio’s energy needs?  Nuclear technology is NOT “carbon- or emissions-free.”  Efficiency and renewable energy cost less and produce more jobs.  Jobs and the grid are decentralized, eliminating major blackouts.