2008: Obama chief political strategist David Axelrod worked for Exelon, largest nuclear plant owner in US — NEI chairman is Obama donor

Published: November 29th, 2011 at 12:43 pm ET


Nuclear Leaks and Response Tested Obama in Senate, New York Times, Feb. 3, 2008 (Emphasis Added):

[…] Since 2003, executives and employees of Exelon, which is based in Illinois, have contributed at least $227,000 to Mr. Obama’s campaigns for the United States Senate and for president. Two top Exelon officials, Frank M. Clark, executive vice president, and John W. Rogers Jr., a director, are among his largest fund-raisers.

Another Obama donor, John W. Rowe, chairman of Exelon, is also chairman of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the nuclear power industry’s lobbying group, based in Washington. […]

In addition, Mr. Obama’s chief political strategist, David Axelrod, has worked as a consultant to Exelon. A spokeswoman for Exelon said Mr. Axelrod’s company had helped an Exelon subsidiary, Commonwealth Edison, with communications strategy periodically since 2002 […]

“Exelon and Illinois state officials waited for four years until 2006 before disclosing that Exelon’s Braidwood Nuclear Generating Station, a nuclear plant 60 miles southeast of Chicago, had spilled millions of gallons of water containing tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen, multiple times over a decade. Exelon officials eventually apologized and said the risks from the leak were “minimal”, with tritium levels in surrounding wells all found to be below regulatory limits.” (SOURCE: Chicago Tribune via Wikipedia)

“Exelon Nuclear, a business unit of Exelon Generation, owns/operates the largest nuclear fleet in the nation and the third largest fleet in the world. Exelon Nuclear represents approximately 20% of the U.S. nuclear industry’s power capacity with 10 power plants and 17 reactors—located in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey —and produces enough electricity to power 17 million average American homes annually. Approximately 93% of Exelon’s total electricity generation is nuclear power.” –Exelon Website

Published: November 29th, 2011 at 12:43 pm ET


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64 comments to 2008: Obama chief political strategist David Axelrod worked for Exelon, largest nuclear plant owner in US — NEI chairman is Obama donor

  • ion jean ion jean

    The Obama/Exelon marriage is one aspect of the festering problem of campaign finance laws…no doubt BO’s gung ho position on the future of the publicly unpopular nuke industry deeply eroded what little trust Americans (the few who even know of this connection) had left for their govt after the Bush years of unending preemptive war and excessive spending on things that just dont matter to the people

    • lam335 lam335

      I sometimes wonder if the US government’s response to Fukushima would have been different if the Obama administration had not been in power. Republicans also tend to love nuclear plants, but they are also more likely to be financially supported by the fossil fuel industries. No doubt there would still have been nuke industry pressure to downplay Fuku, but there might also have been some counter pressure from the oil/gas forces who saw a chance to benefit from it–one faction might have helped to at least diminish the influence of the other.

      Would the EPA have turned off the monitors if the head of the executive branch hadn’t been so thoroughly owned by the nuclear industry?

    • Lil

      This is the biggest reason we need to draft Bernie Sanders 2012. All current candidates are Pro-Nuclear Power.

      • WindorSolarPlease

        Hi Lil,

        Totally agree with you about Mr. Bernie Sanders.

        Both Democratic and Republican Party’s are funded by the Energy Corporations and they work for them.

  • sworldpeas

    …Obama is calling for $36 billion in loan guarantees for traditional nuclear power plants…

    In other words a $227,000 investment yields a $36,000,000,000 return!

    don’t EVEN lol right now.

    • jec jec

      So who pays for damages should any of those PLANTS have a FUKUSHIMA?

      Right now each USA plant has 300M in insurance, and the US Government has a “slush” fund to cover further damage. Of course..damage has to be proven..as the poor Japanese victims of FUKUSHIMA have found out.

      With Obamas track record of loans to businesses who immediated go bankrupt…hummmm do you think …???

  • PayAttention

    go to http://www.muckety.com and type in Exelon, Entergy, General Electric or any other nuclear invested company and you’ll see the octopus-like connections between politicians, businesses + nuclear companies

  • Grampybone Grampybone

    The president needs to allocate 1 trillion dollars over the next 5 years to shut down and store all waste from every nuclear plant in the US. The nuke plants in this country need aggressive reform more than any other utility companies. If they don’t mobilize the population to fix the decaying plants the chances of our very own Fukushima become higher day by day. The fixing of the nuclear industry in the US should have a massive amount of funding to cold shut down, transport and store all the waste somewhere. Leaving spent fuel in danger zones is just asking for an American nuclear nightmare. Too bad the current administration took the nuclear lobby money. Obama needs to use that secular turkey brain of his to learn from Japan’s failure.

    • Buffalojam

      Grampy – You said ” The president needs to allocate 1 trillion dollars over the next 5 years to shut down and store all waste from every nuclear plant in the US.”

      Let me first say that I always look forward to reading your wise comments and almost always agree entirely with them. I must admit, however, that the first sentence in this comment is very bothersome to me. Are you suggesting that American taxpayers, naturally, should be held responsible for the shutdown, cleanup, and storage of the mess that the nuclear industry has made over the past 50 years. I would not agree with this. In any negotiations with the industry relating to the shutdown of it’s nuclear plants, I would argue that the issues of cleanup and storage are crucial negotiating points that need transparent argument before any deal is struck. Let’s not give the store away on this one. Best wishes and please continue commenting!

      • Buffalojam,
        Cost of Decommissioning a plant is supposed to be in the kitty by owner before the plant is built, if I am correct they have to show regulators the money is there to decommission it after life cycle !

        But as I said last week, would surprise me one bit that them moneys are somehow gone, could be the reason the keep giving extension’s on plants, the cozy relationship again, … Ahem ! BP and All !!!!!

        • WindorSolarPlease

          Hi xdrfox

          I would not be surprised one bit either if the money, some how has gone.

        • Buffalojam

          xdrfox – I am sorry that I missed the discussion on this is issue from last week that you referred to. If I understand what you are saying correctly, the industry has insured it’s longevity by misappropriating the very funds it was required to have on hand for it’s eventual decommissioning and, when shutdown does become necessary, the citizens will be left holding the bag. Grampybone suggests we will need 1 trillion dollars to close and store our nuclear plants and waste. Is this even close to being enough? Where will all this come from?

  • ion jean ion jean

    In another time and place this would be called “paying off the guard at the gate to keep his mouth shut while you rob the mansion” only in this case its not gold and jewels but years off peoples lives, babies that will never make it to birth, lots and lots of pain and suffering from the robbing of DNA chains

    A friend who survived 300 roentgens for adenoid “treatment” in the 50s plus all the fallout which accompanied those decades has two generations of physical and mental defects which followed and fears he’ll outlive them

    BTW on the issue of breast cancer, new data proves there is NO GENETIC link so it must therefore be, you guessed it, environmental.

    Hmm, I wonder what is all around us that’s known to cause cancer and has been proven by Dr. Gary Null to have higher breast cancer rates near…

    Ah, what’s that y’say, NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS?

    Are you listening, Messrs. Axelrod and Obama?

    • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

      I just replied to some stupid email from the Obama campaign that wanted my opinion on some artistic design [I didn’t actually read the email]. I replied that the most important issue is to shut down all nuclear power plants worldwide immediately and to stop using uranium in munitions worldwide. They immediately [no doubt automatically] replied in an email thanking me for my reply.

  • Joe Ebslap Joe Ebslap

    This and his Monsanto connections have soured me on the Hope and Change.

  • James Tekton James Tekton

    Hey Gb,

    You said:

    “Leaving spent fuel in danger zones is just asking for an American nuclear nightmare.”

    I wrote on another thread:

    Hate to break it to you but, there are reactors and other places here that have been leaking all kinds of radiation poisoning into the environment long before fukushima as these charts that have been taken down by the epa prove. Los Alamos and Richland, WA are big offenders. There were many of these charts, but they are all gone now.:



    We have seen increased cancer deaths and heart attacks and lots of others sicknesses and diseases that have killed people for how many years in the US? Like all of a sudden, in the recent history of this country, something magically happens killing more and more and it is because of what?

    Who really knows. All we do know is, there has been a lot of historical high amounts of radiation pouring out all over the country according to these long hidden charts. Back during the days after the March 11th catastrophe in japan there was a lot of historical info on the epa web site and now it is COVERED UP. Some day, someone should do a FOIA information request from the epa before the destroy the records.

    Anyone can plainly see that the nuke industry is a BIG part of the population control agenda and they are blatantly killing us all off right in our face and saying, there is nothing you can or will do about it human kind.

    As we used to say…8…9…10!

  • Lil

    This is the biggest reason we need to draft Bernie Sanders 2012. All current candidates are Pro-Nuclear Power.

    • WindorSolarPlease

      Hi Lil,

      Unfortunately, we will never see a Bernie Sanders in 2012 or any other year.

      The candidates have been hand chosen, before we even vote.

  • jimbojamesiv

    This shouldn’t surprise anyone, since they all work for the same people.

  • Lil

    The other alternative is for everyone to get behind Jill Stein, the Green Party Candidates. This would take a huge amount of work on all of us anti-nuke people as she is relatively unknown. However, the Green Party puts Candidates into office in Europe, so if we could get them to help us inform people?

  • midwestern midwestern

    Spiderwebs of affiliation–like we see in muckety.com, the website that PayAttention introduced here:

    “Mr. Rowe is a member of the boards of the Nuclear Energy Institute, Edison Electric Institute, Institute for Nuclear Power Operations, Sunoco, Northern Trust Co., Illinois Institute of Technology, Argonne National Laboratory, Chicago Urban League, Field Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, Northwestern University and Chicago Club. He also serves on the visiting committees of the Oriental Institute and the University of Pennsylvania Museum.

    His civic and professional commitments emphasize historical education and diversity. He serves as chairman of the Chicago Historical Society, chairman of the Mies van der Rohe Society and vice chairman of the Commercial Club of Chicago.”

  • Net

    Why do you think the Obama Administration is so silent on the Fukushima meltdown? http://www.agoracosmopolitan.com/news/intrnational/2011/10/19/1268.html Shameful

  • Net

    We need an ANTI-Nuclear candidate! Is Sanders running? I heard that he was trying to get another candidate to run against Obama.

  • enoughalready45 enoughalready45

    From: “Exelon Central”, in the lovely state of Illinois, USA, home to the most nuclear reactors and nuclear waste of any state in the USA. I live about 25 miles (40 km) from the Braidwood Nuclear Plant. Illinois is where Axelrod and Obama are from. The state is controlled by Democrats who are in bed with the nuclear industry. When Obama was a senator he was aware of the tritium leaks and the plight of the people near the Braidwood Plant. The people got Obama to put sponsor legislation the issue of to make it mandatory for the Nuclear Plants to report to the public their radiation leaks. It all looked great the people thought they had a champion in Obama. In the end he compromised it all away and the Nuclear Industry was left to volunteer notification to the public instead of it being mandatory. When Obama ran for president I knew he would compromise to a fault based on his performance on this one issue. Looking back now with Axelrod and Obama’s connections to Exelon and all the donations from Exelon you can see that Obama and other Democrats and I’m sure Republicans too, are in the palm of Exelon’s hand.


  • enoughalready45 enoughalready45

    Thanks Midwestern and Anne for all the links.
    Just some more fun about Nuclear Illinois–

    Illinois, USA -Home to the American Nuclear Society, a pro-nuclear organization. http://www.ans.org
    Here is a quick summary of how they are portrayed in the press:

    Illinois, USA -Location of Argonne National Laboratory where they continue to do nuclear research. Nuclear waste is located on site although I hear they have been removing it and relocating it to another location. I live nearby and it is nerve racking to think the trucks I drive by may have hot radioactive waste from Argonne on them.

    Illinois, USA –Location of historic atomic waste dump.-open to the public. On the grounds of a forest preserve near Argonne Lab –“This is the surface dump site known as ‘Plot M’ where waste from the world’s first nuclear reactor [Stagg Field CP-1 components were reassembled as CP-2 and CP-3] was deposited during WWII. This top-secret site [known now as ‘Site A’] became the early Argonne National Laboratory site immediately after the war. It is perhaps the only unguarded nuclear site in the world!”
    Source: http://wikimapia.org/606271/Nuclear-Waste-Burial-Site-Plot-M

  • entropy

    Believe me, if a republican was in it would be the same. They would just take more money to keep out of it.
    Hilary would have went in and snuffed it out with her heel. This is an interesting site. Liberal thinking about nuclear but saying the grand old party (good old boys) would handle this situation better? They are only focused on making the current admin look bad instead of helping the American people. I been out of work for over a year and no employment insurance because of the vetoes of GOP. Trickle down ain’t working. Except at Fukushima. (I don’t mean to make light of the subject)

    • enoughalready45 enoughalready45

      @ entropy
      I agree with you about the Republicans and no I’m not saying they would handle it better. The Chicago Tribune has a columnist, John Kass, who discusses Illinois politics. He has coined a great term to describe it, “the combine”. What it basically means is that in Illinois the Democrats and Republicans work together, but not in a good way. Usually both sides have a hand in the back room deals and corruption here. The only reason I brought up the Democrats being in control of Illinois and Illinois being so pro-nuclear is because the article is referencing Axelrod a pro-nuclear democrat from Illinois. A lot of people like things to be black and white i.e. Republicans: anti-environmental, pro-nuclear, pro-oil etc…. Democrats: pro-environmental, anti-nuclear, anti-oil etc… If only it were so simple it would be easy to select whom to vote for. For me it always seems to come down to whom is the lesser of two evils.