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“The Hanford Plaintiffs: Voices from the Fight for Atomic Justice”- Book Review

Book Review: Voices From a Slow-Moving Nuclear Calamity, Undark,

BY LUCY TIVEN07.10.2020

In “The Hanford Plaintiffs,” Trisha T. Pritikin gives voice to the downwinders of the notorious Hanford nuclear plant. HE WORLD’S FIRST full-scale plutonium production reactor sits on the 586-square-mile Hanford site in eastern Washington, an erstwhile Manhattan Project complex and the United States’ most contaminated repository of nuclear waste. After coming online in 1944, the Hanford plant supplied the plutonium for the Nagasaki bomb and almost two-thirds of the nation’s Cold War nuclear arsenal, all while depositing radioactive I-131 into the Columbia River and nearby tri-cities of Richland, Kennewick, and Pasco.

Aided by local weather patterns, the plumes eventually reached neighboring counties in Oregon and Idaho; it was only when the site’s clandestine operations became public in the late 1980s that the federal government acknowledged that thousands of civilians downwind were caught in the path of the fallout.

In “The Hanford Plaintiffs: Voices from the Fight for Atomic Justice,” Trisha R. Pritikin, a lawyer and anti-nuclear advocate, presents 24 of their testimonies and provides a definitive history of the 1991 personal injury litigation Hanford downwinders brought against the government. The firsthand accounts painstakingly detail radiation exposure and its harrowing lifelong health effects, and Pritikin’s careful study of the case links the testimonies and anchors them within the larger chronology of the Manhattan Project. Moving between the Pacific Northwest and the Nevada desert, “The Hanford Plaintiffs” also compares the experiences and litigation efforts of exposed populations and maps the geography of Cold War era nuclear weapons production through the downwinders’ tangles with legislatures and federal courts.

Other histories of Hanford have appeared in recent years, including John Findlay and Bruce Hevly’s 2011 “Atomic Frontier Days: Hanford and the American West” and Michele Gerber’s 1992 “On the Home Front.” But “The Hanford Plaintiffs”most closely echoes Kate Brown’s 2013 “Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters,” a study of Richland and its Russian counterpart, Ozersk. While Brown’s analysis links the plutonium project to the invention of the American suburb, Pritikin’s history speaks in intimate snapshots of life downwind and downriver of Hanford, detailing the devastating cost of the plant’s culture of secrecy in the words of exposed people.


Tracing the site’s history from the end of World War II to the present, “The Hanford Plaintiffs” chronicles how the victims sought justice in court and documents their lengthy legal battle against the government and its nuclear contractors.  The In Re Hanford personal injury litigation dragged on for two and a half decades of costly studies, as legal fees mounted and the downwinders’ health declined. Out of over 3,000 downwinders who joined the 1991 lawsuit, only six representative “bellwether plaintiffs” ever received jury trials. The lawsuit finally came to a close in 2015, as the last of the plaintiffs reached confidential settlement agreements or dropped their claims. (The filing does not disclose the precise number of downwinders to settle or how much they were compensated, though the agreements have been characterized as pithy and widely derided by the plaintiffs and their attorneys over the years).

Pritikin explains that an advantage for the contractors and government of having 24 years of litigation was that the public forgot about the downwinder’s stories. The public had barely heard from any one, other than the bellwethers in 2005.

The case’s resolution foreclosed the opportunity for most of the exposed to put their stories on the record in court proceedings, which numerous downwinders interviewed by Pritikin say was in part what motivated them to join the suit as plaintiffs.

The heart of the book lies in these narratives, which detail the grueling long-term effects of radiogenic disease as well as the downwinders’ recollections of Hanford and the court proceedings. The illnesses discussed include numerous cancers and thyroid disorders, autoimmune disease, neurological disorders, infertility, miscarriages, stillbirths, and neonatal deaths. The compensation scheme agreed upon in the case’s 2015 resolution was narrow: Individuals were eligible only if they suffered from thyroid cancer or other thyroid disorders related to exposure…………

She contends that exposed communities were essentially the “guinea pigs” of the nuclear era, a comparison borne out in gruesome accounts of radiation’s effects on animals. “The tragedies of sheep and lamb deaths in Cedar City in 1953 and the farmlands downwind from Hanford in 1961 were early warnings of what was to come for the downwinders,” writes Pritikin of the plant’s secret experimental animal farm, referencing documents declassified in the late 1980s.

Particularly chilling testimony comes from Brenda Weaver, a plaintiff whose daughter was born with a birth defect she first observed in exposed livestock. “On the night they call the ‘Night of the Little Demons,’ our lambs were born without eyes, with feet missing, without mouths, some with legs grown together; baby lambs with all kinds of horrible deformities,” she recounts. “Only a few years later, while I was still living in the Hanford area, my first child, Jamie, was born without eyes.”……….

 Unlike Hanford’s nuclear workers, nearby civilians were not monitored medically, so the In Re Hanford case relied on dose estimates calculated retroactively in the Department of Energy funded Hanford Environmental Dose Reconstruction project……..

While the book is a definitive history of the In Re Hanford litigation, Pritikin also urges a broader reconsideration of the Manhattan Project from the vantage point of those typically relegated to its margins — a history that is as much about public health as it is about nuclear weapons “The Hanford Plaintiffs” offers readers a timely and valuable contribution to the project as well as a much-needed reminder of the staggering costs of nuclear secrecy.   https://undark.org/2020/07/10/book-review-the-hanford-plaintiffs/  

July 11, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Court reveals that EDF deceived UK about the true financial risks of Hinkley Point nuclear project

EDF boss suppressed report calling Hinkley Point ‘risky’Adam Sage, The Times, 10 July 20, thetimes.co.uk/article/edf-boss-suppressed-report-calling-hinkley-point-risky-gd5vcdhrx

The Times reports that the chief executive of the French company building the UK’s new nuclear reactors won boardroom approval for the project after suppressing an internal review labelling it as risk-laden. In a “highly critical report on the European Pressurised Reactors”, France’s Court of Audit said that the Hinkley Point project in Somerset, led by EDF, represented a “high financial risk” for the French state electricity group, the Times adds.

The court uncovered that the risks had been pointed out in a 2015 review that warned there “were not efficient enough to guarantee that risks would be controlled”. The Times continues: “The court said that Jean-Bernard Lévy, EDF’s executive chairman, had ‘refused to transmit the full report’ to directors or the government, even though the state has an 83.7% stake. They received only a synopsis.” The project received approval from the EDF board in 2016. The court also said that EDF must establish the financing and profitability of nuclear reactors before launching projects, reports Reuters, “dealing a blow to the state-owned utility’s ambitions to build new units”. And Reuters also reports that nuclear power generation at its reactors in France plunged 25.1% in June (compared to 2019) due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, writing in the Daily Telegraph, Sir Iain Duncan-Smith – MP and former leader of the Conservative Party – argues that the UK should “unwind its dependence on China” for “cheap goods and nuclear power”. He says: “The UK has enormous home grown tidal power potential, yet both tidal and hydrogen seem to have been brushed aside in favour of our growing dependence on large Chinese-run nuclear projects.” He concludes: “From Huawei to hydrogen and Hong Kong, we need to recognise the strategic threat China poses and, together with our allies, decide what we will do to reduce it, otherwise we risk repeating the failed lessons of the past.” And also in the Daily Telegraph, chief city commentator Ben Marlow says that the government should be stimulating manufacturing demand to contain the damage caused by Covid-19 to Rolls Royce – “Britain’s most illustrious engineering company”. He says: “It should start with nuclear where enlisting the expertise of Rolls-Royce in building so-called mini-nukes would help to solve its current geo-political nightmare with China. It would make it easier to ditch China General Nuclear Power Group from the plans to build giant new plants at Sizewell on the Suffolk coast and Bradwell in Essex, or scrap the proposals altogether.” These decisions would “also offer a greener and cheaper alternative to a technology that looks decidedly out of date already, and it would create jobs at a company in desperate need of a leg up – three birds with one stone”.

July 11, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

90 Coronavirus cases among India’s nuclear workers, most at Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant

Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant: Rising infections among workers, Daily Star,  Ahmed Humayun Kabir Topu, 10 July 20,  More and more workers of different sub-contracting firms at Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant in Ishwardi upazila are getting infected with the novel coronavirus.

Upazila Health Officer Dr AFM Asma Khatun said 103 people in the upazila have been diagnosed with the virus till July 6. Of them, around 90 workers were infected with Covid-19 in the last three days. The majority of the workers who tested positive for coronavirus work at Paharpur Cooling Tower Ltd, a sub-contracting firm of the Rooppur project.

The number of Covid-19 patients has increased as over 800 employees of the sub-contracting firms at the plant gave samples to the labs of different government and private institutions for Covid-19 testing in the last few days, said the doctor, adding that the number of infected workers is increasing every day.

Most of the Covid-19 patients are the workers of Paharpur Cooling Tower Ltd, a sub-contracting firm of the plant, said Dr Asma Khatun, adding that the authorities of different sub-contracting firms at Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant have collected samples of several hundred workers and sent those to the lab of a private institution in Dhaka for coronavirus testing but they are yet to get copy of the test reports from the private institution.  …… https://www.thedailystar.net/city/news/rooppur-nuclear-power-plant-rising-infections-among-workers-1927965

July 11, 2020 Posted by | health, India | Leave a comment

Explosion at Iran’s nuclear facility probably caused by Israel

What caused the explosion at a nuclear facility in central Iran?, The Strategist  10 Jul 2020|, Connor Dilleen  It seems increasingly likely that the 2 July explosion at the Iran Centrifuge Assembly Centre, located near the Natanz Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant, was the result of sabotage. And, despite initial speculation that it was the result of a cyberattack against critical operational control systems—and thus of a similar vein to the Stuxnet attack that took down multiple centrifuge cascades at Natanz in 2010—the simpler and more plausible explanation is that the explosion was caused by a bomb.

Despite claims of responsibility by a previously unknown group calling itself the Homeland Cheetahs that supposedly comprises disgruntled Iranian former military and security services personnel, it now appears widely accepted that Israel was behind the attack. There has been further speculation that Israel was also behind other curious incidents that have occurred at Iranian facilities in recent weeks—including explosions at the gas storage area near the Khojir missile facility at Parchin, at a medical facility in Tehran, and at a factory south of Tehran—although there is as yet no evidence of foul play in these events.

Multiple media outlets—including the New York Times and the Washington Post—have referenced intelligence officials attributing the Natanz attack to Israel. And while Tehran was slow in apportioning blame, on 7 July it accused Israel of being behind the attack, saying it was ‘a “wake-up call” meant to deter Iran amid advancements in its nuclear program, and … [that] those who planted the explosives had significant insight into the country’s nuclear program’.

Israel has form in using lethal force against high-value nuclear targets in the Middle East. Between 2010 and 2012, Israeli agents murdered four Iranian nuclear scientists. Earlier, Israel launched military strikes that destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak in 1981 and the Syrian Al Kibar reactor in 2007, the two most obvious manifestations of the Begin doctrine, which stipulates that Israel cannot allow any of its regional adversaries to develop a nuclear weapons capability.

However, two key issues remain unresolved. First, it’s not clear that the explosion at the centrifuge assembly centre will be a significant a setback for Iran’s enrichment capabilities. Second, if it is accepted that Israel was behind the incident, it’s difficult to assess whether the Natanz attack was merely a warning to Tehran or represents a new stage in Israeli efforts to curtail Tehran’s nuclear program. It’s possible that the attacks were also intended to provoke a reaction from Tehran that would justify more punitive and definitive military strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities by either Israel or the US…….. https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/what-caused-the-explosion-at-a-nuclear-facility-in-central-iran/

July 11, 2020 Posted by | Iran, Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

The massive task of transporting a massive dead nuclear reactor

July 11, 2020 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Warning of serious brain disorders in people with mild coronavirus symptoms

Warning of serious brain disorders in people with mild coronavirus symptoms

UK neurologists publish details of mildly affected or recovering Covid-19 patients with serious or potentially fatal brain conditions,  Guardian,  Ian Sample Science editor, @iansample, Wed 8 Jul 2020 Doctors may be missing signs of serious and potentially fatal brain disorders triggered by coronavirus, as they emerge in mildly affected or recovering patients, scientists have warned.

Neurologists are on Wednesday publishing details of more than 40 UK Covid-19 patients whose complications ranged from brain inflammation and delirium to nerve damage and stroke. In some cases, the neurological problem was the patient’s first and main symptom.

A dozen patients had inflammation of the central nervous system, 10 had brain disease with delirium or psychosis, eight had strokes and a further eight had peripheral nerve problems, mostly diagnosed as Guillain-Barré syndrome, an immune reaction that attacks the nerves and causes paralysis. It is fatal in 5% of cases.

“We’re seeing things in the way Covid-19 affects the brain that we haven’t seen before with other viruses,” said Michael Zandi, a senior author on the study and a consultant at the institute and University College London Hospitals NHS foundation trust.

“What we’ve seen with some of these Adem patients, and in other patients, is you can have severe neurology, you can be quite sick, but actually have trivial lung disease,” he added. …….

The cases add to concerns over the long-term health effects of Covid-19, which have left some patients breathless and fatigued long after they have cleared the virus, and others with numbness, weakness and memory problems……..

The cases, published in the journal Brain, revealed a rise in a life-threatening condition called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (Adem), as the first wave of infections swept through Britain. At UCL’s Institute of Neurology, Adem cases rose from one a month before the pandemic to two or three per week in April and May. One woman, who was 59, died of the complication………  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/08/warning-of-serious-brain-disorders-in-people-with-mild-covid-symptoms?CMP=share_btn_tw

July 11, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health | Leave a comment

New research shows serious health effects from Three Mile Island nuclear accident.

ncluding erythema, hair loss, nausea, and vomiting5. Researchers later correlated more than a dozen verified reports of medical impacts to simultaneous meteorological conditions

large-scale epidemiological investigations have uncovered health decrements including breast and lung cancer, heart disease, and early mortality among the exposed population within ten miles7 and five miles8,9,10 of the TMI facility.

the emissions from the accident should be considered causative for the observed excess incidence of cancer in the surrounding ten-mile area

Radiobiological shot noise explains Three Mile Island biodosimetry indicating nearly 1,000 mSv exposures Aaron M. Datesman Scientific Reports volume 10, Article number: 10933 (2020) 

Abstract ………

IntroductionThe 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear power station in Pennsylvania released a large quantity of the radioactive noble gas xenon-133 into the surrounding environment. Although it is well-established that gamma ray exposures to the affected population were comparable to or smaller than the annual dose due to background radiation (around 1 mSv), the topic of health effects relating to the accident has always been controversial. The Report of the President’s Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island (known as the Kemeny Commission Report, after its chairman) asserted that any health or medical impacts affecting the population living within twenty miles of the accident site were due to mental distress1. On the basis of what is known about the accident and the nature of the exposure suffered by those nearby, it is therefore not conventionally believed that any discernible impact to human health caused by exposure to ionizing radiation has been observed2,3,4.

However, contrary evidence does exist, and ought not to be summarily dismissed. For instance, contemporaneous accounts from hundreds of local residents describe symptoms consistent with significant exposure to ionizing radiation, including erythema, hair loss, nausea, and vomiting5. Researchers later correlated more than a dozen verified reports of medical impacts to simultaneous meteorological conditions at the TMI facility6, , at least suggesting the presence of the radioactive plume at the location of the individuals making the reports. Because the persons affected in some cases were not aware that a radiological release from the TMI facility had occurred following an accident, and in most or all cases may not have been knowledgeable regarding the medical impacts of radiation poisoning, a diagnosis of mental distress as an explanation for the acute effects observed is difficult to accept.

Furthermore, large-scale epidemiological investigations have uncovered health decrements including breast and lung cancer, heart disease, and early mortality among the exposed population within ten miles7 and five miles8,9,10 of the TMI facility. Because the doses suffered by the exposed population were small and because the discernible health impacts were not those expected for the nature of the exposure, among other reasons, most investigators have been unwilling to interpret these epidemiological results as convincing evidence relating the observed health impacts to exposure to ionizing radiation. Due in part to their results showing a clear dose response for lung cancer, however, a group of researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill contended that the emissions from the accident should be considered causative for the observed excess incidence of cancer in the surrounding ten-mile area11. In order to justify their conclusion, the UNC researchers hypothesized that the doses to the affected population may have been much higher than generally accepted. There is little corroborating evidence for the claim. The Kemeny Commission, for instance, concluded that the greatest exposure to any individual due to the accident was only about 0.7 mSv.

The present article engages specifically with one piece of evidence cited by the UNC team supporting their view: the results of the cytogenetic analysis of 29 individuals, living near TMI at the time of the accident, who reported symptoms consistent with radiation poisoning contemporaneous with the accident12. The analysis produced dose estimates in the range of 600–900 mSv, orders of magnitude larger than the gamma ray doses estimated by the Kemeny Commission, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission13,14, experienced nuclear industry consultants15,16, or the Three Mile Island Public Health Fund17. While the results of the cytogenetic analysis have been published in the open scientific literature and are freely available, the existence of this information does not appear to be widely known.

While the dose estimate based upon cytogenetic analysis is sufficient to explain contemporaneous reports of acute effects, then, it contradicts firmly established estimates of the gamma dose to affected individuals. Because those gamma ray dose estimates are anchored to actual, physical measurements taken by dosimeter at the time of the accident, the cytogenetic results are difficult to explain. Although the conflict seems irreconcilable, in fact its existence illuminates a fundamental oversight in the health physics body of knowledge18 While the phenomenon of shot noise19 deriving from the discrete nature of electrical charge has long been known to apply to biological systems at least in the context of nerve-muscle junctions20 and membrane conduction21, its application to radiobiology has up until the present time been neglected.

It will be shown (contrary to the assertions of authorities) that the gamma ray doses suffered by those in the path of the Xe-133 plume were far from the most significant exposures that occurred. The results of cytogenetic analysis are instead consistent with the effects of internal exposure to beta radiation. Correcting a fundamental oversight in the health physics body of knowledge—relating to shot noise in the context of radiobiology—resolves the apparent paradox

The finding should motivate a comprehensive re-evaluation of the conventional understanding of the 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power station, especially regarding its impact upon the population of the surrounding area.Materials and methods……….. …..   https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-67826-5#disqus_thread  

July 11, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Paul Ehrlich warns overpopulation and overconsumption are driving us over the edge   

Paul Ehrlich: ‘Collapse of civilization is a near certainty within decades’  MAHB, Damian Carrington | July 9, 2020   This interview was first published in The Guardian on March 22, 2018

Fifty years after the publication of his controversial book The Population Bomb, biologist Paul Ehrlich warns overpopulation and overconsumption are driving us over the edge   

A shattering collapse of civilisation is a “near certainty” in the next few decades due to humanity’s continuing destruction of the natural world that sustains all life on Earth, according to biologist Prof Paul Ehrlich.

In May, it will be 50 years since the eminent biologist published his most famous and controversial book, The Population Bomb. But Ehrlich remains as outspoken as ever.

The world’s optimum population is less than two billion people – 5.6 billion fewer than on the planet today, he argues, and there is an increasing toxification of the entire planet by synthetic chemicals that may be more dangerous to people and wildlife than climate change.

Ehrlich also says an unprecedented redistribution of wealth is needed to end the over-consumption of resources, but “the rich who now run the global system – that hold the annual ‘world destroyer’ meetings in Davos – are unlikely to let it happen”.

Continue reading

July 11, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Anniversary of nuclear bomb test on Mururoa Atoll

ACE Nuclear-Free Collective   No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia, 2 July 20

This day on July 2nd 1966, the first French nuclear test took place at Mururoa Atoll. [Image description: slides with blue and orange text on black background with text that reads, On this day in history, an orange radioactive mushroom cloud ruptured Pacific skies, seas and engulfed the atoll of Mururoa. It was the beginning of a toxic reign of radioactive negligence by the French in the Pacific region. The French President who upon witnessing the July 2nd detonation remarked, “It’s beautiful”.

The colonial power had been testing in Algeria, but as their independence became more evident, the French moved into the atolls of Polynesia. From 1966 to 1996, the French conducted 193 tests on the atoll; some of the explosions 200 times the strength of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Information on safety, and the lasting impacts for environment and human health, was scarce if not, misleading. The sovereign peoples were led to believe testing was not only safe but would benefit their communities through military-based economic opportunity. People who worked only 15kilometres away from test sites often had no more protection than the shorts and t-shirts on their backs.

French testing, was a theatrical power display, an assertion of their priority to grasp tight to global dominance rather than world peace. Resistance to testing was prominent from the outset. Pouvanaa a Oopa, a fierce and enduring anti colonial leader, led the first protection action in 1950, collecting signatures for the Stockholm Peace Appeal. He remained an important leader and agitator, even throughout his political imprisonment and exile to France.

During the thirty years of French testing, condemnation swelled internally and across Pacific nations including Aotearoa and so called Australia. Mass protests, demonstrations, flotilla solidarity, trade union bans and boycotts on French products took place. “If it is safe to test, test it in Paris” was a phrase used by key collective, The Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific.

The radioactive fall out has had devastating impacts on both environment and human health. Tahiti the most populated island was exposed to 500 times the maximum accepted levels of radiation. Tahitian socialist, Richard Tuheiava outlines the continuing struggle for justice, ”The fact is since the nuclear testing most of the diseases were cancer, leukaemia. Most of the diseases were as a result of the nuclear testing, so we collectively also put a request for the state of France, the colonial power to not only compensate directly the veterans, but also compensate this fund, this public health care fund.”

Today, July 2nd 2020, we honour the ongoing impacts of nuclear colonialism in the Polynesia, and the enduring fight for justice, truth and accountability.]    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1314655315214929/

July 11, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The umpteenth financial slide of the Flamanville EPR

Visualize in graphs the umpteenth financial slide of the Flamanville EPR, Le Monde,  By Pierre Breteau Published on June 24, 2019 at 12h06 – Updated on July 09, 2020 at 14h24   DECRYPTIONS In 2007, the site was to last five years, at a cost of 3.3 billion euros. It should finally last at least sixteen years, for an invoice estimated at 19.1 billion according to the Court of Auditors.


The commissioning of the Flamanville EPR will cost 15.8 billion euros more than expected at the start for a total of 19.1 billion according to the calculations of the Court of Auditors released Thursday, July 9, multiplying the cost by 5 , 8 (or + 479%). This is 6.7 billion more than what EDF had announced in October 2019. Initially, this nuclear power plant should have been built in five years, at a cost of 3.3 billion euros. It should therefore have been put into service in 2012, its creation having been authorized by decree on April 11, 2007. Since the launch of the project, the invoice has, therefore, almost sixfold.


Defective welds, concrete slabs to be reinforced, hardening of standards after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, etc. : view, year after year, the delays and additional costs accumulated by this project.  [Excellent graphs  trace yearly history of failures and delays] 


April 2007: end of construction planned in 2012The decree authorizing EDF to build a new “EPR” type reactor under the name of Flamanville 3 in the Manchese commune of the same name is published in the Official Journal. Among the safety points on which the decree insists, the reactor must, among other things, “resist the accidental fall of an aircraft”. It must also be operational in the event of an earthquake. Source: Official Journal…..


July 2020: end of construction scheduled for 2024
Cost: + 479% | duration: + 240%
According to calculations by the Court of Auditors, the level of expenditure has been revised upwards to 19.1 billion euros. In March 2020, a decree published in the Official Journal extended the maximum commissioning date to 2024.

Source: Le Monde   https://www.lemonde.fr/les-decodeurs/article/2019/06/24/epr-de-flamanville-visualisez-comment-le-cout-et-la-duree-du-chantier-ont-triple-depuis-2007_5480745_4355770.html

July 11, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

$192.5 million legal settlement over failed SC nuclear project

 

Federal judge approves $192 million shareholder settlement over failed SC nuclear project, Post and Courier

A federal judge signed off on a $192.5 million legal settlement Thursday between the former shareholders of SCANA Corp. and the company’s new owner Dominion Energy.

The deal, which is being celebrated as the largest investor-related settlement in South Carolina history, stems from the failed V.C. Summer nuclear expansion project in Fairfield County. 

That project, which lasted for nearly a decade, was undertaken by Cayce-based SCANA and Santee Cooper, South Carolina’s state-run utility. 

The payout to SCANA’s investors is the latest settlement to come out of the failed nuclear project in which $9 billion was sunk into two unfinished reactors before construction was halted.

A separate settlement between Dominion and SCANA’s former electric customers was approved last year. A similar settlement between Santee Cooper and its electric ratepayers awaits approval in state court. 

The SCANA shareholder settlement, which took months to negotiate, will include $160 million in cash. The remaining $32.5 million will be covered by cash or Dominion stock. 

In a virtual hearing, U.S. District Judge Margaret Seymour called the settlement fair and reasonable, considering the uncertainty SCANA’s former shareholders would face if they pushed the case to trial. 

The total, however, equals only 13 percent of the money the plaintiff attorneys would have asked for had the case gone before a jury. 

The lawsuits alleged SCANA’s former executives and several of its board members for years misled the company’s shareholders about the health of the nuclear project. They focused specifically on an audit of the nuclear construction project from 2015 which warned the reactors likely would not be completed in time to cash in on billions of dollars in federal tax credits.  

……The settlement, however, is unlikely to end all of the legal drama surrounding the failed nuclear project. 

Steve Byrne, who served as SCANA’s vice president during the nuclear construction, is scheduled to be in federal court in Columbia next week, and is prepared to plead guilty to defrauding SCANA’s electric utility customers. He’s unlikely to be the last person to be indicted by the U.S. Attorneys Office in South Carolina. 

Byrne’s plea agreement will require him to cooperate with federal prosecutors, and the charging documents in his case signal that SCANA’s former CEO Kevin Marsh and former chief financial officer Jimmy Addison are also targets of the criminal investigation  https://www.postandcourier.com/business/federal-judge-approves-192-million-shareholder-settlement-over-failed-sc-nuclear-project/article_0c0c7c6a-c1ee-11ea-87ae-e33cdec66387.html

 

July 11, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment