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Lawmakers approve rescue of nuclear plants

TOLEDO (AP) — A roughly $1 billion financial rescue for Ohio’s two nuclear power plants is on the way after lawmakers and the governor signed off on a plan Tuesday that will add a new fee to every electricity bill in the state.

Backed mostly by Republicans, the legislation will hand over $150 million a year through 2026 to the plants near Cleveland and Toledo in order to keep them operating. It also will scale back and eventually end requirements that utilities generate more power from wind and solar.

Without the cash infusion from customers, FirstEnergy Solutions, which is going through bankruptcy reorganization, warned that the plants would be shut down within two years.

The natural gas boom and increasing use of renewable energy have combined in recent years to squeeze the nation’s aging nuclear reactors.