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The FBI is still looking for a trove of nuclear submarine secrets in an espionage case

The FBI is still looking for a trove of nuclear sub secrets in an espionage case, NPR, October 20, 2021 ETRYAN LUCAS,

The FBI has not recovered the vast majority of secret documents related to nuclear submarines that a U.S. naval engineer is accused of trying to sell to a foreign power, an FBI agent testified Wednesday.

Special Agent Peter Olinits said the FBI also hasn’t been able to find the $100,000 in cryptocurrency that it gave the defendants — Jonathan Toebbe, who worked on nuclear propulsion for the Navy, and his wife Diana — as part of the sting operation that led to the Maryland couple’s arrest.

The Toebbes, who were arrested earlier this month, have been indicted on espionage charges — one count of conspiracy to communicate restricted material and two counts of communicating restricted data.

Prosecutors say Jonathan Toebbe tried to sell thousands of pages of documents containing secrets about the U.S. Virginia-class nuclear submarine to an unnamed foreign country…………..

October 23, 2021 Posted by | legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Diverse American groups file a lawsuit against DOE opposing production of plutonium pits

What do activist groups from California, New Mexico, and South Carolina
have in common? And why might such a diverse crew have filed a group
lawsuit in June of this year, against the Department of Energy and the
National Nuclear Security Administration?

The answer to that question says
a lot about the environmental implications of nuclear weapons, and what
tactics exist to protect communities – and the world – against the
threat nuclear weapons pose.

The first plutonium pit was produced at Los
Alamos in 1945 and detonated at the Trinity test site. The second plutonium
pit was detonated in Nagasaki shortly after that, killing over 70,000
people. Plutonium pits act as the radioactive core of nuclear weapons,
existing as the central “shell” of nuclear fission chains or what
triggers the detonation. They serve a central role in the existence of
nuclear weapons. Producing plutonium pits, however, is a technically
challenging process that in the past, frequently resulted in environmental

 Beyond the Bomb 18th Oct 2021

October 23, 2021 Posted by | Legal, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Couple Indicted for Trying to Sell Nuclear Secrets to Foreign Country

Couple Indicted for Trying to Sell Nuclear Secrets to Foreign Country
, NewsWeek,
  couple from Maryland charged with trying to sell information about nuclear-powered warships to a foreign country was indicted following their arrest earlier this month, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Jonathan, 42, and Diane Toebbe, 45, of Annapolis, each faces a single count of conspiracy to communicate restrictive data and two counts of communication of restricted data.

The couple was arrested in West Virginia on October 9 by the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and charged with violating the Atomic Energy Act—a federal law that assures the proper management of nuclear materials and their byproducts.

“The complaint charges a plot to transmit information relating to the design of our nuclear submarines to a foreign nation,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The work of the FBI, Department of Justice prosecutors, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Department of Energy was critical in thwarting the plot charged in the complaint and taking this first step in bringing the perpetrators to justice.”…….

Jonathan continued speaking with this person for months and agreed to sell the information for thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency,………..

October 23, 2021 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

US navy engineer charged with trying so sell nuclear submarine secrets

US navy engineer charged with trying so sell nuclear submarine secrets

Jonathan Toebbe and wife arrested in West Virginia after nuclear engineer makes ‘dead drop’ to undercover FBI agent,     Guardian,   Associated Press in WashingtonMon 11 Oct 2021 
A US navy nuclear engineer with access to military secrets has been charged with trying to pass information about the design of American nuclear-powered submarines to someone he thought was a representative of a foreign government – but who turned out to be an undercover FBI agent.

In a criminal complaint detailing espionage-related charges, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) said Jonathan Toebbe sold information for nearly a year to a contact he believed represented a foreign power. That country was not named in the court documents.

Toebbe, 42, was arrested in West Virginia on Saturday with his 45-year-old wife, Diana Toebbe, after he placed a removable memory card at a prearranged “dead drop” in the state, according to the DoJ. The Toebbes are from Annapolis, Maryland………………………

The FBI paid Toebbe $20,000 for the transaction and provided the contents of the SD card to a navy subject matter expert, who determined that the records included design elements and performance characteristics of Virginia-class submarine reactors, the justice department said.

Those submarines are sophisticated and nuclear-powered “cruise missile fast-attack submarines”, according to the complaint…………..

The complaint alleges violations of the Atomic Energy Act, which restricts the disclosure of information related to atomic weapons or nuclear materials.

The Toebbes are expected to have their initial court appearances on Tuesday in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Jonathan Toebbe has worked for the US government since 2012, holding a top-secret security clearance and specializing in naval nuclear propulsion, the FBI says. He has also been assigned to a laboratory in the Pittsburgh area that officials say works on nuclear power for the US navy…….

October 11, 2021 Posted by | Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Legal challenge launched to stop waste from nuclear plant construction being dumped in the Bristol Channel

News in brief: Legal challenge launched to stop waste from nuclear plant
construction being dumped in the Bristol Channe
l. Campaigners from England
and Wales have formed a new group to oppose the dumping of sediment from
the construction of a nuclear power station in the Severn Estuary and are
taking legal action to block the plans.

The Save the Severn Estuary /
Cofiwch Môr Hafren campaign involves the Geiger Bay coalition and groups
from the English side of the estuary, and is seeking to halt the dumping of
sediment from the construction of the Hinkley C power station in the Marine
Protected Area (MPA) near Portishead, Bristol.

The group is urging the
Marine Management Organisation (MMO) to revoke the license granted earlier
this year to EDF to dump the waste, which they say puts the MMO in breach
of its international obligations to protect marine environments such as the
Severn Estuary. They are also demanding the UK’s Secretary of State for
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice, acknowledges the ban
on any dumping that causes harm in the Marine Protected Area and instruct
the MMO appropriately.

 Nation Cymru 7th Oct 2021

October 9, 2021 Posted by | legal, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear executive to go to prison for fraud

Former exec readies for 2 years in prison in nuclear debacle, abc, By Jeffrey Collins, Oct 5, 2021  Associated Press  COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP)
— An executive who spent billions of dollars on two South Carolina nuclear plants that never generated a watt of power, lying and deceiving regulators about their progress, is ready to go to prison.

Former SCANA Corp. CEO Kevin Marsh has agreed with prosecutors that he should spend two years in prison. He goes before a federal judge Thursday who will decide whether to accept that deal…..

Marsh is the first executive to go to prison for the nuclear debacle. A second former SCANA executive and an official at Westinghouse Electric Co., the lead contractor to build two new reactors at the V.C. Summer plant, have also pleaded guilty. A second Westinghouse executive has been indicted and is awaiting trial.

Marsh in February pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud in federal court, and obtaining property by false pretenses in state court. Prosecutors agreed to his request to serve his entire sentence on both sets of charges in a federal prison.

Marsh already paid $5 million in restitution. SCANA had paid Marsh $5 million in 2017, the year the utility abandoned the hopelessly behind-schedule project in Fairfield County

Marsh lied and presented rosy projections on the progress of the reactors that he knew was false in earning calls, presentations and press releases. The CEO wanted to keep investors pumping money into the project and the company’s stock price up, prosecutors said.

His actions took more than $1 billion from the pockets of ratepayers and investors, authorities said in an 87-page Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit filed against them in 2020…………..

October 7, 2021 Posted by | Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

October 27 – Julian Assange’s extradition appeal hearing

Dan Monceaux, 5 Oct 21 Julian Assange’s extradition appeal hearing is approaching on October 27 this year. The Americans (at least the CIA) are hoping to win the right to pluck him from the maximum security Belmarsh Prison in the UK, try him before a Grand Jury in Virginia with no permitted defence… then ultimately incarcerate him for 175 years. He will be committed to a slow, torturous death. This is the most horrendous case of “shooting the messenger” one could ever imagine. Assange is being punished for daring to publish documentary evidence of imperial transgressions to the interested public.October 27 will be a turning point in history… for better or worse.

October 5, 2021 Posted by | Legal, UK | Leave a comment

Surprise surprise. USA Justice Dept drops charges against Michael Flynn.

In surprise move, US Justice Department drops case against Michael Flynn,  SMH, 8 May 20, Washington: The Justice Department says it is dropping the criminal case against President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, abandoning a prosecution that became a rallying cry for the President and his supporters in attacking the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation.

The move is a stunning reversal for one of the signature cases brought by special counsel Robert Mueller. It comes even though prosecutors for the past three years have maintained that Flynn lied to the FBI in a January 2017 interview about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.

Flynn himself admitted as much, pleading guilty before asking to withdraw the plea, and became a key cooperator for Mueller as the special counsel investigated ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.

In court documents being filed on Thursday, the Justice Department said it is dropping the case “after a considered review of all the facts and circumstances of this case, including newly discovered and disclosed information.” The documents were obtained by The Associated Press………

Flynn himself admitted as much, pleading guilty before asking to withdraw the plea, and became a key cooperator for Mueller as the special counsel investigated ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.

In court documents being filed on Thursday, the Justice Department said it is dropping the case “after a considered review of all the facts and circumstances of this case, including newly discovered and disclosed information.” The documents were obtained by The Associated Press………

Flynn pleaded guilty that December, among the first of the President’s aides to admit guilt in Mueller’s investigation. He acknowledged that he lied about his conversations with Kislyak, in which he encouraged Russia not to retaliate against the US for sanctions imposed by the Obama administration over election interference.

He provided such extensive cooperation that prosecutors said he was entitled to a sentence of probation instead of prison……

October 5, 2021 Posted by | Legal, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Entergy faces federal fine for violations at its nuclear power plant near St Francisville

Entergy faces federal fine for violations at its nuclear power plant near St. Francisville, BY KRISTEN MOSBRUCKER | STAFF WRITER

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is proposing a $150,000 fine against Entergy for three violations related to its River Bend Nuclear Station near St. Francisville. 

The federal agency found there was an issue with an exam proctor falsifying a test and submitting it, an operator skimped on safety checks at the plant’s control building and a senior reactor operator gave an unauthorized employee an access key to a room with cybersecurity-related equipment inside. 

The violations at the nuclear power plant occurred between 2018 and 2020, according to the commission’s report. ………………..

October 2, 2021 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Texas sues federal government to block nuclear waste facility along New Mexico border

Texas sues federal government to block nuclear waste facility along New Mexico border, Adrian Hedden, Carlsbad Current-Argus, 27 Sept 21,   A lawsuit filed by the State of Texas last week stated a proposal to build a storage facility for nuclear waste in the state “unlawful” and called on a federal appeals court to vacate a federal license issued for the project earlier this month..

Interim Storage Partners (ISP) received the license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to build a temporary storage facility for spent nuclear fuel rods in Andrews, Texas along the state’s western border to New Mexico.

The project, an expansion of the company’s facility in Andrews that holds low-level waste, would ultimately hold up to 40,000 metric tons of the high-level waste temporarily until a permanent repository is available.

There is presently no permanent holding place for the waste and critics of the project feared it could become a “de facto” permanent resting place for the waste.

The lawsuit filed Sept. 23  by Abbott and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals demanded the court review and ultimately vacate the license.

“Petitioners pray that, upon review, the Court will hold unlawful and set aside the order issuing Materials License No. SNM-2515 and vacate the License,” the lawsuit read………………..

September 28, 2021 Posted by | legal, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Samuel Lawrence Foundation loses court case to keep spent fuel pools as safety backup at San Onofre nuclear station

Judge tosses out lawsuit that sought to stop San Onofre nuclear plant dismantlement,  Ruling says Coastal Commission properly granted permit, San Diego Tribune,  BY ROB NIKOLEWSKI , . 20, 2021 

Deconstruction work at the now-shuttered San Onofe Nuclear Generating Station — known as SONGS for short — will continue after a judge in Los Angeles County turned back a lawsuit filed by an advocacy group that looked to put a halt to it.

Deconstruction work at the now-shuttered San Onofe Nuclear Generating Station — known as SONGS for short — will continue after a judge in Los Angeles County turned back a lawsuit filed by an advocacy group that looked to put a halt to it.

In a 19-page decisionLos Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff ruled last week the California Coastal Commission acted properly when it granted a permit in 2019 to Southern California Edison — the operators of the plant — to proceed with dismantlement efforts.

The Samuel Lawrence Foundation filed the suit, arguing the commission violated its own regulations and provisions by issuing the permit………….

Samuel Lawrence Foundation president Bart Ziegler said in an email that his group “will continue to push for strict monitoring, protocols and handling facilities at Edison’s nuclear waste dump.”

The heart of the lawsuit centered on two spent fuel pools that are scheduled to be torn down.

At commercial nuclear power plants, when the highly radioactive fuel rods used to generate electricity lose their effectiveness, operators place the assemblies in a metal rack that is lowered about 40 feet into a “wet storage” pool, typically for about five years, to cool.

Edison has since taken the assemblies out of the pools, placed them into stainless steel canisters and moved them into two “dry storage” facilities on the north end of the plant. One facility holds 50 canisters and another, more recently constructed site, holds 73 canisters.

Edison says now that the spent fuel has been transferred to dry storage, the pools are unnecessary and should be dismantled.

The Samuel Lawrence Foundation argued Edison should keep the pools in case the canisters ever get damaged or degrade over time………..

Despite issuing the permit and related measures, the commission has complained about being put in a tough position.

Edison says now that the spent fuel has been transferred to dry storage, the pools are unnecessary and should be dismantled.

Schwartz said until the federal government comes up with a long-term storage site, “we are forced to live with the increased risks of storing (waste) on our coast. Commissioners and staff have communicated to the (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) the urgency of moving these spent fuel facilities out of the coastal hazard zone, and we will continue to press the NRC on this issue.”

There are 3.55 million pounds of used-up fuel in the canisters at SONGS, which is located between the Pacific and Interstate 5.

But keeping the waste on-site is not unique to San Onofre. About 80,000 metric tons of spent fuel has stacked up at 121 commercial nuclear sites in 35 states………..

Under a “special condition” agreed to in 2015, the commission is allowed by 2035 to revisit whether the storage site should be moved to another location in case of rising sea levels, earthquake risks, potential canister damage or other scenarios……

SONGS’ dismantlement began in March 2020 and is expected to take about eight years to complete. Roughly 2 billion pounds of equipment, components, concrete and steel will be removed from the plant.

The two distinctive containment domes, each nearly 200 feet high, are scheduled to come down around 2027.

About 450,000 tons of material labeled low-level nuclear waste will be shipped — mostly by rail — to a disposal facility in Clive, Utah. Another 35 tons of low-level waste will get shipped by truck to a facility in the West Texas town of Andrews.

According to Edison’s plans, all that will remain at SONGS will be two dry storage facilities, a security building with personnel to look over the waste, a seawall, a walkway connecting two beaches north and south of the plant, and a switchyard with power lines. The rest of the property will revert to the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

September 21, 2021 Posted by | decommission reactor, Legal, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear reactor worker wins NIS one million cancer compensation.

Nuclear reactor worker wins NIS one million cancer compensation

‘G,’ a 78-year-old pensioner from Beersheba, claimed to have been continually exposed to hazardous materials and radioactive radiation at the Dimona nuclear reactor.
By JERUSALEM POST STAFF   SEPTEMBER 19, 2021  A Dimona nuclear reactor technician, who twice contracted cancer since his retirement, will be compensated in the sum of over NIS one

million, N12 reported on Sunday.’G,’ a 78-year-old pensioner from Beersheba, worked as a chemistry technician at the Dimona nuclear reactor for 32 years before retiring in 2003.

The retired technician claimed to have been continually exposed to hazardous materials and radioactive radiation, which caused him to develop five cancerous tumors which were surgically removed, as well as battling bladder and prostate cancer.He also claimed that there was no proper supervision and no means of radiation protection given to him during his time working in the reactor.”I went through a troubling period in my life. I couldn’t believe my job would bring me to this situation,” he reportedly noted in a claim filed to social security……..

September 20, 2021 Posted by | health, Israel, Legal | Leave a comment

Prison sentence for corrupt nuclear executive

Ex-SCANA CEO to become first to get handed a prison sentence over VC Summer failure,      BY JOHN MONK SEPTEMBER 11, 2021 COLUMBIA, S.C.

An Oct. 7 date has been set for the sentencing of Kevin Marsh, the former CEO of SCANA who pleaded guilty earlier this year to federal conspiracy fraud charges involving a cover-up of financial troubles connected to the failure of the company’s $10 billion V.C. Summer nuclear project.

Marsh, 65, who pleaded guilty in February, has agreed to a two-year prison sentence for his role, according to federal court records.

Marsh was eligible to receive a maximum five-year sentence for his crimes, but he caught a break after he agreed to cooperate in other ongoing investigations and prosecutions in the SCANA case, according to court records. Marsh had worked his way from a position in SCANA’s accounting department to CEO.

The Oct. 7 hearing will be at the federal courthouse in Columbia before U.S. District Judge Mary Lewis.

Marsh would be the first person to receive a prison sentence in the failure of the company’s nuclear project. Another former SCANA executive, Stephen Byrne, also has pleaded guilty to similar conspiracy charges.

Marsh is one of four senior executives — two from SCANA and two from Westinghouse Electric Corp. — charged in the four-year federal investigation into the July 2017 abandonment of the nuclear project by SCANA and its junior state-owned project partner, Santee Cooper.

From 2008 to July 2017, Westinghouse was the major contractor for SCANA’s nuclear project, overseeing construction at the utility’s VC Summer site in Fairfield County, north of Columbia.

At Marsh’s guilty plea in February, assistant U.S. Attorney Jim May told Lewis that Marsh’s crime was “a violation of public trust” — not an effort to illegally make millions for himself.

What Marsh did was hide the true state of the project as costs were spiraling out of control and finishing dates were being unduly delayed from the public, investors and regulators, May said at the hearing.

The highly publicized project had a worthy goal, May said.

“The project was to do something that it had not been done in the United States since late 1970’s — build a nuclear power plant — with the idea that this success would spark a nuclear renaissance and provide for reduction on dependence of fossil fuels,” May said.

SCANA was under pressure to meet construction deadlines to qualify for more than $1 billion in federal tax credits, but it also was under obligation to make public true information about the status of the project, May said.

“Mr. Marsh did not make these disclosures but repeated positive (false) information about the project’s status. It is for this failure that he is criminally liable,” May said.


Two of the other three have pleaded guilty and one is fighting the federal charges connected to giving false information about the project. They are:

 Carl Churchman, a Westinghouse official who oversaw construction at the nuclear project. He has agreed to plead guilty to lying to an FBI agent about what he knew about the progress of the project when it was still ongoing.

 Jeffrey Benjamin, a former Westinghouse senior vice president of new plants and projects, faces multiple counts of fraud, according to an 18-page indictment made public in August in U.S. District Court in Columbia. Benjamin’s lawyer has said he is innocent of the charges and plans on seeking a trial.

Stephen Byrne, a former top SCANA official, pleaded guilty in July 2020 to criminal conspiracy fraud charges in federal court in Columbia.

Byrne’s guilty plea, the first of three guilty pleas so far, showed that SCANA’s downfall — triggered by the failed nuclear project — was the result of not just mismanagement or incompetence, but criminal conduct at the company’s highest levels.

Like Marsh, Churchman and Byrne have agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and could be witnesses in any future court proceedings, including those concerning Benjamin.

SCANA, a Fortune 500 publicly traded company whose business lineage traced back to 1846, was one of the crown jewels of South Carolina’s economy.

But the failure of its effort to build two nuclear reactors at its plant in Jenkinsville led to multiple lawsuits and mounting financial troubles. Eventually the company was absorbed by Dominion Energy. SCANA’s downfall is perhaps the most costly business failure in state history.

Once SCANA and Santee Cooper announced they were abandoning the venture in July 2017, SCANA’s stock price began to plummet and its financial and political troubles began to mount. SCANA was hit by multiple lawsuits, most of which have now been settled with multi-million dollar payoffs to investors and ratepayers.

The motives of Westinghouse and SCANA officials in covering up the project’s true status were different, according to evidence in the case.

Westinghouse officials lied about of the status in order to have SCANA keep on paying the company for ongoing construction; the lies of SCANA officials were aimed at deceiving the public and regulators in hopes of figuring out a way to still get the federal tax credits, even if SCANA missed the deadline to qualify for the credits, according to evidence in the case.

SCANA’s failure affected the pocketbooks of hundreds of thousands of people and businesses.

For years, the company had jacked up customers’ monthly power bills to help pay billions in ongoing construction costs for the two nuclear reactors that were supposed to be built, but now will never generate power.

When the plant was abandoned, several thousand construction employees also lost their jobs.

September 13, 2021 Posted by | Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Downwinders Look to Renew and Expand Radiation Exposure Compensation Act

Downwinders Look to Renew and Expand Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, Sierra Nevada Ally, By Brian Bahouth -September 4, 2021

Audio: a conversation with downwinder Mary Dickson   Between 1951 and 1992, U.S. scientists and engineers conducted 928 nuclear blasts at the Nevada Test Site (NTS), a roughly 1,400 square-mile federal reservation located 65 miles north of Las Vegas.  Eight hundred and twenty eight were underground tests and 100 atmospheric tests in which the atomic weapons were exploded at or above ground level, which releases highly radioactive material high into the atmosphere.

In total, at various locations around the globe, the Atomic Energy Commission and later the Department of Energy, conducted 1,054 atomic weapons tests.

Fallout from these many bombs circled the planet. If a person is in close proximity to a nuclear blast, the symptoms of acute radiation sickness are obvious, but outside the blast area, human senses do not apprehend radioactivity that can lodge in the fat of milk or meat and can linger for decades in the environment. 

The health effects of nuclear testing on those directly downwind of the events in eastern Nevada, Utah and Arizona became evident with cancer clusters and and other related illnesses. Many ranchers lost livestock.

After years of lawsuits and wrangling, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) became law in 1990 and provides one-time benefit payments to “persons who may have developed cancer or other specified diseases after being exposed to radiation from atomic weapons testing or uranium mining, milling, or transporting.” 

The U.S. Department of Justice administers RECA and has distributed over $2.4 billion in benefits to more than 37,000 claimants since its inception in 1990, but the RECA program is scheduled to sunset in 2022.

Geographically, RECA covers people living in a total of 22 counties with some in eastern Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. But research shows that parts of Idaho and Montana saw radioactivity impacts on par with Nevada, Utah and Arizona. Many places in North America realized toxic levels of radiation. Fallout from the tests travelled around the globe.

U.S. Senator from Idaho, Mike Crapo has been a long-time advocate for downwinders. In a recent newsletter to constituents, he said he’s working on bi-partisan legislation that would renew and expand the dimensions of RECA to include many more states. 

Work is in progress with stakeholders to determine the best path forward to reintroduce the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments, which expands coverage of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) to include victims in Idaho among states impacted by exposure to fallout from nuclear weapons testing.”………….

“The more I started  researching and the more I started following that story, the more I thought, ‘my government did this to me,’” Mary Dickson said. “I’m a casualty of the Cold War.

“My sister, at the time, was ill with an autoimmune disease, and she and I started making a list of all the people in our childhood neighborhood who had cancer or tumors. It didn’t take long before, in a four or five block area, we had about 54 people on that list …

“And we just thought, ‘OK, yeah, something happened to us. Something happened to us, something happened …”………

September 6, 2021 Posted by | health, Legal, politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Westinghouse Electric Co has paid $21bn and will co-operate with federal investigators over South Carolina nuclear fraud.

Failed nuclear contractor signs $21M deal, working with feds,

The chief contractor at a failed multibillion-dollar project to build two nuclear reactors in South Carolina has agreed to pay more than $20 million as part of a cooperation agreement with federal authorities probing the fiasco
, By MEG KINNARD Associated Press31 August 2021  COLUMBIA, S.C.

The chief contractor at a failed multibillion-dollar project to build two nuclear reactors in South Carolina has agreed to pay more than $20 million as part of a cooperation agreement with federal authorities probing the fiasco.

Under an agreement announced Monday by Acting U.S. Attorney Rhett DeHart, Westinghouse Electric Co. will contribute $5 million to a program intended to assist low-income ratepayers affected by the project’s failure. Another payment of $16.25 million will be due before July 1, 2022.

The company will also be required to cooperate with federal investigators still probing the company’s role in the 2017 debacle, which cost ratepayers and investors billions and left nearly 6,000 people jobless.

Westinghouse was the lead contractor on the construction of two new reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Columbia. South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. parent company SCANA Corp. and state-owned utility company Santee Cooper spent nearly $10 billion on the project before halting construction in 2017 following Westinghouse’s bankruptcy.

The collapse of the V.C. Summer project spawned multiple lawsuits, some by ratepayers who said company executives knew the project was doomed and misled consumers and regulators as they petitioned for a series of rate hikes. Three top-level executives have already pleaded guilty in the multi-year federal fraud investigation. A fourth has been charged and is expected in federal court Tuesday.

Earlier this year, a federal judge signed off on a plan to disperse $192 million among former SCANA shareholders, a settlement that attorneys for the investors said was the largest securities class action recovery obtained in South Carolina when a judge approved it last year.

On Monday, DeHart said Westinghouse has given federal investigators more than three million pages of documents, data and correspondences and made employee witnesses available for interviews. Through its former parent company Toshiba, Westinghouse has also made more than $2 billion in settlement payments related to the project.

Since the failure, Westinghouse has removed, reassigned or retrained its senior management, elected a new board and implemented new financial controls, according to DeHart.

“Our office continues to seek justice for the victims of the V.C. Summer Project failure,” DeHart said in a news release. “Westinghouse’s cooperation is vital to our ongoing efforts to hold accountable the individuals most responsible for this debacle.” 

August 31, 2021 Posted by | Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment