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Nuclear Is a Long-Term Investment for Ohio that Will Pay Big

With 50 different state legislative calendars, more than half of them adjourn by June, and those still in session throughout the year usually take a recess in the summer. So springtime is prime time for state legislative activity. In the next few weeks, legislatures are hosting hearings and calling for votes on bills that have been battered back and forth in the capital halls.

On Tuesday, The Ohio Public Utilities Committee hosted its third round of hearings on the Zero Emissions Nuclear Resources Program, House Bill 178, and NEI’s Maria Korsnick testified before a jam-packed room of legislators.

Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station
Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station

Washingtonians parachuting into state debates can be a tricky platform, but in this case, Maria’s remarks provided national perspective that put the Ohio conundrum into context. At the heart of this debate is the impact nuclear plants have on local jobs and the local economy, and that nuclear assets should be viewed as “long-term investments” for the state. Of course, clean air and electrons don’t recognize state boundaries, meaning the Ohio legislature’s decision impacts the entire region and the nuclear energy industry broadly.

I particularly enjoyed the Q&A between Maria and the legislators where she was able to provide a firsthand account from what she’s learning in her global nuclear dialogues. Maria described a bleak picture, saying that the U.S. is losing its leadership role in the global nuclear market because as other countries build 60 new reactors, here we are stuck debating preserving our existing fleet. When she was asked why should we trust technology from the 1950s, Maria explained the constant upgrades the industry invests in stating, “Don’t judge by age, judge by performance.”

It was a good day in Ohio for nuclear.

The above is a guest post from Christine Csizmadia, director of state governmental affairs and advocacy at NEI. Follow Christine on Twitter at @CCsizmadia.

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