Corruption, Fraud and Failure: Cascading Nuclear Fiascos

See below for recent articles related to developing reports of several serious scandals and other fiascos that occurred at multiple nuclear facilities and sites across the country.

Most Recent

Feds: Indian Point owner Holtec had laid-off workers agree not to testify against company

“It is essential that current and former plant workers feel free to raise safety concerns with the NRC,” spokesman Neil Sheehan said. “They are (or were) at the plant on a daily basis and can have knowledge of issues that are not available to us.”

This is the second time in recent months Holtec has reversed course after the NRC caught the company violating federal regulations.

In February, the NRC cited Holtec for spending $63,000 of ratepayer funds meant for the demolition of Indian Point to sponsor a high school fashion show, sports teams and a golf outing. Holtec had to reimburse the money, which it took out of some $2 billion in decommissioning trust funds it inherited after buying the plant from Louisiana-based Entergy.

By Thomas C. Zambito, LOHUD | May 29, 2024 

Indian Point’s owners had workers sign agreements saying they would not discuss safety concerns with outsiders after they stopped working at the shuttered nuclear power plant, an investigation by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has found.

The NRC last week cited Holtec International, the plant’s New Jersey-based owners, for including language in the severance agreements of employees who left the company in 2022 and 2023 that would restrict or discourage them from testifying as a witness in a proceeding that could damage Holtec.

Additionally, the NRC said, Holtec required the employees to tell Holtec if they received “subpoenas, correspondence, telephone calls, requests for information, inquiries or other contacts” from government agencies or other third parties.

Advocate Judy Allen of Putnam Valley holds a sign during a rally urging Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign a bill that would make it illegal for Holtec International to discharge radioactive waste in the Hudson River August 15, 2023 at Westchester County Center in White Plains.
Advocate Judy Allen of Putnam Valley holds a sign during a rally urging Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign a bill that would make it illegal for Holtec International to discharge radioactive waste in the Hudson River August 15, 2023 at Westchester County Center in White Plains.

More indictments for Ohio nuclear crimes

Former executives face a judge — in their ankle monitors

By Linda Pentz Gunter,

It was called “likely the largest bribery money-laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people of the state of Ohio.” And the shoes are still dropping. Or should that be ankle monitors? Because these latter belong to the three latest criminals indicted for their roles in a scheme that saw FirstEnergy hand over $61 million in bribes to Ohio politicians and their co-conspirators to secure favorable legislation.

That bill, known as HB6, guaranteed a $1.3 billion bailout to FirstEnergy in order to keep open its two failing Ohio nuclear power plants, Davis-Besse and Perry, as well as struggling coal plants. The nuclear portion of the bill has since been rescinded, but Ohio consumers are still paying to prop up two aging coal plants, to the tune of half a million dollars a day, amounting to an extra $1.50 a month on every ratepayer’s electric bill.

The $61 million bribery plot was the mastermind of then speaker of the Ohio House, Larry Householder, who is now a household name in Ohio for all the wrong reasons. He was sentenced last June to 20 years in prison for his part in the conspiracy. GOP Chairman Matt Borges, was also found guilty of racketeering conspiracy and sentenced to five years in federal prison. Both men say they will appeal.

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State Sues Holtec for Mishandling Asbestos at Pilgrim Reactor Site

Attorney general says demolition put workers and residents at risk

| February 15, 2024

BOSTON — Mass. Attorney General Andrea Campbell has filed a civil complaint against Holtec Decommissioning International, owner of the shuttered Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, for a long list of violations related to improperly handling, storing, shipping, and disposal of asbestos-laced debris during the plant’s demolition.

The complaint cites work done between January 2021 and September 2023. The improper handling put the health of workers and residents near the plant in jeopardy, according to the complaint, which seeks penalties of $25,000 per day for each violation.

The attorney general’s office filed the 28-page suit on Feb. 14 in Suffolk Superior Court. Assistant Attorney General John Craig, from the office’s environmental division, states that Holtec didn’t hire the required asbestos inspector before demolishing a 32-foot-high water tower in 2021. Asbestos-laced paint on the exterior of the tower was not removed and properly disposed of, the complaint charges, and it wound up in flakes on the work site and mixed in with metal scraps from the tower.


Attorney general seeks to deny Holtec $260M state tax break

In appeal to state Supreme Court, AG lists major concerns about Camden nuclear tech firm

| February 2, 2024

New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin is appealing to the state Supreme Court to ban Holtec International, a Camden nuclear technology firm dogged by a history of ethical issues, from collecting a $260 million tax break awarded in 2014.

Platkin, in a petition to the court filed Thursday, wrote that Holtec must not be allowed to get away with lying on its application for the largest tax break in state history. Rewarding Holtec’s “material” misrepresentations, Platkin argued, would undermine state contract law and encourage other applicants to deceive the state.

“The question is whether a business that concealed prior misconduct when seeking millions in incentives can nevertheless walk away scot-free,’’ wrote Platkin, who is contending that the appellate court which decided in favor of Holtec made critical legal errors.

New York Times: Tax Break Scandal Leads to $5 Million Fine for N.J. Energy Company

A business tied to George Norcross III, a high-profile New Jersey Democrat, has agreed to pay a $5 million penalty after a criminal investigation into hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks that the energy company, Holtec International, was awarded.

| January 30, 2024

The fine, announced early Tuesday by the state attorney general’s office, enables officials from Holtec, a company based in Camden, N.J., that dismantles nuclear power sites, to avoid criminal prosecution linked to a 2018 application for $1 million in tax credits.

Mr. Norcross, an insurance executive who sits on the board of Holtec, has for decades held an outsize grip on New Jersey politics and has used his clout in the national Democratic Party and in Camden County, as well as his fund-raising ability, to influence state legislation. Mr. Norcross has never held elected office, and his power has waned over the last several years after a series of embarrassing legislative losses in South Jersey.

Still, he has remained one of the state’s most feared unelected politicians.

“We are sending a clear message: No matter how big and powerful you are, if you lie to the state for financial gain, we will hold you accountable — period,” Matthew J. Platkin, New Jersey’s attorney general, said in a statement.

Holtec, in a statement, denied “any misconduct.”

Controversial Camden-based nuclear parts maker to pay $5M fine


Two Businessmen Charged for $1M Kickback Scheme Involving Nuclear Weapons Components

An indictment was unsealed today in Kansas City, Kansas, charging two businessmen for an alleged scheme to fraudulently steer and award subcontracts by a major engineering firm for work on nuclear weapons manufacturing projects for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Kansas City National Security Campus (KCNSC).


According to court documents, from at least 2011 through approximately January 2021, Michael Clinesmith, 67, of Kansas, allegedly solicited and received kickbacks and bribes from Richard Mueller, 63, of Missouri, in exchange for steering subcontracts from Clinesmith’s employer to Mueller’s company (Subcontractor 1). Clinesmith, a long-tenured employee of a major engineering firm (Company 1) working at the KCNSC, was responsible for designing and procuring gages that were specially designed and manufactured to measure the components of nuclear weapon products. Clinesmith allegedly used his position and authority at Company 1 to steer gage subcontracts to Subcontractor 1 in exchange for Mueller paying him over $1 million for surreptitiously performing some or all of the work. Clinesmith is alleged to have told Mueller how much to bid on gage subcontracts that Company 1 awarded. Then, Clinesmith told his employer, Company 1, that those bids were fair and reasonable without disclosing that, in exchange for the subcontracts, Mueller would secretly funnel to Clinesmith the money awarded to Subcontractor 1. The indictment also alleges that Mueller lied to federal agents regarding the number of impacted subcontracts and his involvement in the scheme.

$61 million in refunds for customers in SC nuclear debacle

Four executives of the utility or the company that was building the reactors have been indicted or have pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the failure.

© AP News |

FILE - Construction is well underway for two new nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville, S.C. on Monday, April 9, 2012. A South Carolina judge has approved a second round of refunds for customers of a utility that poured billions of dollars into two nuclear power plants that never produced a watt of power. About $61 million is being set aside for Dominion Energy South Carolina after the utility sold a number of properties as part of the settlement of a class-action lawsuit by 1.1 million of its customers over the never completed plants at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station near Columbia. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins, File)
AP FILE – Construction is well underway for two new nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville, S.C. on Monday, April 9, 2012. A South Carolina judge has approved a second round of refunds for customers of a utility that poured billions of dollars into two nuclear power plants that never produced a watt of power. About $61 million is being set aside for Dominion Energy South Carolina after the utility sold a number of properties as part of the settlement of a class-action lawsuit by 1.1 million of its customers over the never completed plants at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station near Columbia. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina judge has approved a second round of refunds for customers of a utility that poured billions of dollars into two nuclear power plants that never produced a watt of power.

About $61 million is being set aside for Dominion Energy South Carolina after the utility sold a number of properties as part of the settlement of a class-action lawsuit by 1.1 million of its customers over the never completed plants at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station near Columbia.

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Radioactive Waste Fell On Some LA-Area Neighborhoods During 2018 Woolsey Fire, New Study Shows

The majority of samples found just “background” or normally occurring levels of radioactivity. But 11 samples showed significantly elevated levels of radioactive materials.

ByJoel Grover and Josh Davis

High levels of radioactive particles landed in neighborhoods from Thousand Oaks to Simi Valley during the massive 2018 Woolsey fire, which started at the contaminated Santa Susana Field Lab, according to a peer-reviewed study just published by a team of scientists known for studying environmental disasters.

What’s stunning about the findings is that they run contrary to what California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) said to calm public fears in the hours after the Woolsey Fire, “We do not believe the fire has caused any releases of hazardous materials… associated with contamination at the [SSFL] site.”

“The DTSC lied. They said that contamination from hadn’t migrated away from Santa Susana and the study proves that it has,” said Jeni Knack, part of a group of volunteers who helped collect samples analyzed in the study.

Knack participated in the sample collection because she had a background doing data collection on archaeological sites, and because she’s the mom of a 6-year old who lives in Simi Valley, just five miles from Santa Susana.

“I was afraid that radioactive and chemical contamination were being carried by wind and smoke during the fire,” Knack told NBC4.

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Ex-CEO who oversaw doomed nuclear project sentenced

An executive who lied to regulators about two South Carolina nuclear plants that never generated a watt of power has been sentenced to two years in prison

By October 7, 2021

Image: The Associated Press
FILE – In a Sept. 21, 2016 file photo, Kevin Marsh, CEO of SCANA Corp., speaks to the media at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station near Jenkinsville, S.C. Marsh and prosecutors have agreed to ask for a two-year prison sentence on federal and state charges he lied about the progress of two nuclear plants that were never finished. A judge will sentence Marsh Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A utility executive who repeatedly lied to keep investors pumping money into South Carolina’s $9 billion nuclear reactor debacle will spend two years in prison for fraud, a federal judge decided on Thursday.

Former SCANA Corp. CEO Kevin Marsh agreed with prosecutors that he should serve the sentence and the judge approved the deal, making him the first executive put behind bars for misleading the public on the project, which failed without ever generating a watt of power.

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US attorney details illegal acts in construction projects, sealing the fate of the “nuclear renaissance”

“The indictment reveals important new information about how Benjamin and Westinghouse conspired to hide crucial information about reactor completion dates from the owners…It states that the defendant made “false and misleading statements” and “knowingly devised a scheme” to continue the project based on misrepresentations.”

By Tom Clements |

VC Summer nuclear site in South Carolina, with operating unit 1 in the background and abandoned twin unit Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactor construction in the foreground; Tim Mousseau ©2018. Used with permission to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

The ill-fated construction of new nuclear reactors in South Carolina—one of two such troubled Westinghouse reactor construction projects in the United States—was abruptly terminated on July 31, 2017, but the effort to determine legal accountability for the project’s colossal failure is only now hitting its stride.

The South Carolina legislature conducted hearings about the project’s collapse. But it has fallen to the United States Attorney for South Carolina to outline internal decisions that led to project abandonment—via court filings, plea agreements, and indictments. These filings are proving to be the best documentation so far of criminal behavior related to projects that were part of a much-hyped “nuclear renaissance” that began in the early-2000s but has since petered out in the United States.

On August 18, 2021, a second Westinghouse official was charged in a federal grand jury indictment filed with the court in Columbia, South Carolina. The charges outline “the scheme” to cover up key details about the problem-plagued project to construct two 1,100 megawatt (MW) Westinghouse AP1000 light-water reactors at the VC Summer site north of Columbia.

The project was initiated in May 2008 and gained final approval in February 2009.

According to the 18-page indictment, former Senior Vice President of New Plants and Major Projects Jeffrey Benjamin “had first-line responsibility for Westinghouse’s nuclear reactors worldwide.” He was charged, according to a news release, “with sixteen felony counts including conspiracy, wire fraud, securities fraud, and causing a publicly-traded company to keep a false record.” On August 30, the US attorney’s office announced that Benjamin would be arraigned on August 31.

In order for SCANA, parent of utility South Carolina Electric and Gas, to gain a federal production tax credit of $1.4 billion, essential to the financial viability of the project, both units had to be finished by December 31, 2020.


Benjamin and Westinghouse knew that the dates would never be met, but SCANA doggedly stuck with them given production-tax-credit pressure.The indictment reveals important new information about how Benjamin and Westinghouse conspired to hide crucial information about reactor completion dates from the owners, the publicly held utility SCANA, now defunct, and its junior partner, the state-owned South Carolina Public Service Authority (known as Santee Cooper). It states that the defendant made “false and misleading statements” and “knowingly devised a scheme” to continue the project based on misrepresentations via Westinghouse to the owners, state regulators, the Securities and Exchange Commission, investors, and ratepayers. Nervous SCANA officials played along with the inept cover-up efforts and passed on false and inaccurate information to regulators.

Benjamin, the fourth official to be charged, faces 20 years in prison and a $5 million fine. Issuance of the indictment suggests he intends to face trial rather than plead guilty—a risky proposition given the waste of $9 billion on construction of a project that delivered nothing to consumers (and potential jury members) but a series of nine rate hikes. While those hikes were eventually eliminated and further rate hikes were avoided, a small nuclear construction charge in current bills stands as an enduring reminder of the debacle.

On May 21, 2021, Carl Churchman, Westinghouse Electric Corporation vice president and project director, was indicted on the felony charge of making false statements to the FBI about the status of the project. He pleaded guilty on June 10.

In February, Kevin Marsh, former SCANA CEO, also entered a guilty plea in federal court for conspiracy to commit felony fraud. And Stephen Byrne, former SCANA chief operating officer and executive vice president, pleaded guilty in July 2020 to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Both gave false testimony numerous times to regulators.

The August 18, 2021 news release from the South Carolina US Attorney’s Office made clear that the investigation continues: “`This indictment with its attendant allegations and charges is another step toward justice for all those responsible for the VC Summer nuclear plant fiasco,’ said FBI Special Agent in Charge Susan Ferensic.”The two SCANA officials and Westinghouse’s Churchman are subject to five-year prison sentences and stiff fines but will likely face reduced sentences in exchange for fully cooperating with investigators, something required in their plea agreements.

Both Westinghouse and SCANA were eventually forced into bankruptcy. Westinghouse was acquired by Brookfield Business Partners, and SCANA vanished after an easy takeover by Dominion Energy, approved in December 2018. The fate of the debt-strapped, state-owned partner Santee Cooper rages on in the South Carolina Legislature.

One entity that will likely never be held responsible for the disastrous project that it authorized is the South Carolina Public Service Commission. Members of this body unanimously voted in favor of anything SCANA requested during the entire course of the project and balked at providing oversight as it fell apart. All were replaced by the Legislature at the end of their terms with new members, who have been less accommodating to utility requests.

Public interest intervenors were prescient in their early assessments of the project. Friends of the Earth, which intervened before the Public Service Commission against the project in August 2008, noted SCANA’s disregard for energy efficiency and alternative forms of energy. That organization predicted that the project’s fate would be what the US Attorney’s Office affirmed in the August 18, 2021 indictment: “from the outset, the Project was characterized by cost overruns and significant delays.” Likewise, toward the end of the project in June 2017, just after Westinghouse declared bankruptcy, Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club filed a formal complaint detailing why the project must be canceled. As money hemorrhaged, the owners made that earth-shaking decision a month later. And the mighty crash still reverberates.

In Georgia, construction of the other AP1000 project, located at Plant Vogtle, stumbles along to massive cost overruns and significant schedule delays. A main difference between the projects: Georgia Power has a large enough customer base to absorb the financial blow of its struggling project. With cost projections for the two Vogtle units nearing a stunning $30 billion, finishing dates presented to the Georgia Public Service Commission remain open to question.

The Carolina and Georgia reactor projects went forward under laws related to “construction work in progress” that allowed financing charges to be billed to the ratepayers from the start of construction, long before the reactors were online. Both the South Carolina law, the Baseload Review Act, and Georgia’s Nuclear Energy Financing Act have been repealed.

The fault for the shocking AP1000 misadventure falls squarely on the shoulders of Westinghouse and the involved utilities. They all fell victim to their own reactor-promotion propaganda but lacked the technical and management competence to pull off the projects as envisaged. With pursuit of large light-water reactors in the United States all but dead, the nuclear industry is now endlessly touting an array of “small modular reactors” and a dizzying menu of so-called “advanced reactors,” all of which exist only on paper. It’s unclear if there’s a path forward for this nuclear renaissance redux, and if there is, whether taxpayers will be put on the hook for financing some of it.

Nuclear Watch Interactive Map – U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex

Waste Lands: America’s Forgotten Nuclear Legacy

The Wall St. Journal has compiled a searchable database of contaminated sites across the US. (view)
Related WSJ report:

Subcontractor sues WIPP for $32 million in canceled work

Critical Applications’ ventilation project was tied to a radiation leak in 2014 that often is recalled as the “kitty litter” incident.

BY:  |

A subcontractor is suing the company that operates the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Southern New Mexico, claiming $32 million for what it says was gross mismanagement of a major construction project at the nuclear waste disposal site.

In a federal lawsuit, Texas-based Critical Applications Alliance LLC, which was hired to build a ventilation system at WIPP, says Nuclear Waste Partnership was such a disorganized project manager that it caused repeated delays and cost overruns, resulting in multiple breaches of contract.

The subcontractor also complains WIPP managers abruptly canceled its $135 million contract in August with no explanation and without paying millions owed.

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Political strategist & lobbyist each plead guilty in federal public corruption racketeering conspiracy involving more than $60 million

United States Attorney David M. DeVillers

Southern District of Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                 THURSDAY, OCT. 29, 2020


CINCINNATI – A longtime campaign and political strategist for Ohio House Representative Larry Householder and a lobbyist hired by an energy company to funnel money to Householder’s enterprise each pleaded guilty in federal court today.

Jeffrey Longstreth, 44, and Juan Cespedes, 41, of Columbus, each pleaded guilty to participating in a racketeering conspiracy involving more than $60 million paid to a 501(c)(4) entity to pass and uphold a billion-dollar nuclear plant bailout.

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Column: Yes, Santa Susana is a ‘landmark’ — as a historic environmental disaster

The Santa Susana Field Laboratory site is “one of the most toxic sites in the United States by any kind of definition,” Jared Blumenfeld, head of the California Environmental Protection Agency, told me. “It demands a full cleanup.”


The Santa Susana Field Laboratory site, shown in a 2000 photo, is one of the most challenging cleanup jobs in the state, possibly the country.(Boeing)

One thing is certainly true about NASA’s curious effort to place 2,850 acres above the Simi Valley on the National Register of Historic Places: The parcel is certainly a landmark.

Among the points in dispute is what makes it so.

To several local Native American tribes, including the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, the Ventura County site’s cave drawings and rock shelters bespeak a cultural heritage dating back centuries.

The time has come for us to make sure that we hold the polluters accountable for their legacy….We will make sure the site gets cleaned up and we will exercise our legal authority in pursuit of that. – CALEPA SECRETARY JARED BLUMENFELD

To environmentalists and the site’s neighbors, it’s historic for the extent of its contamination by chemical and nuclear research performed there during the Cold War.

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Bechtel & Aecom, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Contractors, Agree to Pay $57.75 Million to Resolve Claims of Time Charging Fraud at Doe’s Hanford Waste Treatment Plant

Major Government Contractors Admit to Overcharging between 2009 and 2019 by Billing Time Not Worked, and also Agree to Three-Year Independent Corporate Monitor


Richland and Spokane, WA – Today, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington announced that major federal contractors Bechtel National Inc., Bechtel Corporation (Bechtel), AECOM Energy & Construction, Inc. (AECOM), and their subsidiary Waste Treatment Completion Company, LLC (WTCC), agreed to pay $57,750,000 to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to resolve claims that Bechtel and AECOM fraudulently overcharged the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in connection with its operation of the Hanford Waste Treatment Plant (WTP) project. The False Claims Act (FCA) claims arose from allegations that Bechtel and AECOM management were aware of and failed to prevent inflated labor hours being charged to DOE, and for falsely billing DOE for work not actually performed.

The WTP is located at DOE’s Hanford Site near Richland, Washington. Between 2001 and the present, DOE has paid billions of dollars to Bechtel and AECOM to have them design and construct the WTP, the purpose of which is to treat hundreds of millions of gallons of dangerous radioactive waste currently stored at the Hanford Site. To construct, operate, and maintain the WTP, Bechtel and AECOM employed hundreds of electricians, millwrights, pipefitters, and other skilled tradesmen known as “craft” workers.

As part of the settlement secured by the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) for the Eastern District of Washington, Bechtel and AECOM admitted to a detailed Statement of Facts setting forth their actionable conduct. Between 2009 and 2019, Bechtel and AECOM admitted to overcharging DOE for unreasonable and unallowable idle time experienced by craft personnel. Bechtel and AECOM further admitted to failing to schedule and carry out adequate work to keep craft personnel sufficiently occupied and productive, resulting in excessive idle time. Bechtel and AECOM also admitted that Bechtel and AECOM management knew that craft personnel were experiencing idle time due to management’s failure to assign sufficient work, and that this idle time could, at times, last “several hours.” Finally, Bechtel and AECOM admitted that they improperly billed DOE labor costs for the unreasonable idle time and continued doing so for years, even after Bechtel and AECOM knew they were under investigation for the improper billing practices.

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Nuclear Power goes South in South Carolina

“It looks like crime might well pay after all.”
That was the weary and only slightly tongue-in-cheek conclusion drawn by longtime anti-nuclear campaigner, Tom Clements recently, after a former South Carolina nuclear utility executive pled guilty to fraud in federal court.

BY: Linda Pentz Gunter |

Photo: Since cancelled V.C. Summer Unit 3, by NRC/Flickr.

Clements is the director of Savannah River Site Watch, but his activism has, for decades, extended well beyond the perimeter of that vast nuclear site.

For years, Clements and others have followed — and attempted to stand in the way of — the forced march of South Carolina ratepayers toward nuclear fiasco. When it finally unraveled in late July, there was only cautious cause for celebration.

On July 23, Stephen Byrne, the former COO of SCANA, the South Carolina utility originally in charge of the construction of two new nuclear reactors in the state, pled guilty in a massive nuclear conspiracy that defrauded ratepayers, deceived regulators and misled shareholders.

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Top Ex-SCANA Official Stephen Byrne Pleads Guilty in SC Nuclear Fiasco Fraud Case

Stephen Byrne, a top executive of the now-defunct SCANA electric utility, pleaded guilty Thursday to criminal conspiracy fraud charges in federal court in Columbia.

BY: John MonkJoseph Bustos |

Byrne’s guilty plea showed that SCANA’s downfall — triggered by a failed $9 billion effort to build two nuclear reactors in Fairfield County — was the result of not just mismanagement or incompetence, but criminal conduct at the company‘s highest levels.
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.
Byrne was part of a conspiracy that engineered a “cover-up” to hide the extent of the publicly traded company’s financial problems caused by the nuclear project’s difficulties, according to charging documents in his case. “Through intentional misrepresentations,” Byrne and others deceived regulators and customers, documents said.
Byrne, 60, who appeared with his lawyers, Jim Griffin and Maggie Fox of Columbia, said little during Thursday’s hearing before U.S. District Judge Mary Lewis. He will be sentenced at a later date and, as part of a plea bargain, could testify against any alleged co-conspirators.

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Ohio Nuclear Power Scandal

As [David] DeVillers described it at a press conference: it was the “largest bribery, money laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people of Ohio.”



Photograph Source: David_Besse_NPP.jpg: Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Original uploader was Theanphibian at en.wikipedia – Public Domain

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and FBI this week charged the speaker of the Ohio House of Representative and four others in a $61 million scheme to use $1 billion in ratepayers money to keep two decrepit nuclear power plants operating.

And, said the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, David DeVillers, at a press conference after the arrests Tuesday: “This is by no means over. We are going to continue with this investigation.”

Those charged were involved in a “Conspiracy to Participate, Directly or Indirectly” in the scheme “through a Pattern of Racketeering Activity,” declared the “Offense Description” that headed an 81-page federal “Criminal Complaint.”

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Bribed Ohio’s $60 Million Radioactive Uproar Rocks the 2020 Vote

“Ohio is in election-year turmoil over a Trump-supported nuke bailout bought with bribery. Whether public fury will kill the handout and affect the fall presidential election remains to be seen…But Bribed Ohio 2020 has clearly gone radioactive.”

BY: Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman |

Ohio’s biggest-ever bribery case is rocking America’s reactor industry … and the fall election.

Full details of the shocking arrest of Ohio’s powerful Speaker of the House are still unfolding.

But on Monday, the FBI charged Larry Householder and four associates with taking $60 million (that’s NOT a typo) in bribes from “Company A,” suspected to be the Akron-based nuke utility FirstEnergy. The company has not been formally named as the source of the bribe, but FE’s stock has since plummetted.

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Former SCANA Executive Pleads Guilty to Fraud Charges Tied to Failed SC Nuclear Project

“I’m glad there is going to be a little bit of justice and that Mr. Byrne is now pleading guilty to his crime, so it’s a matter of holding others accountable who were former executives of SCANA,” Tom Clements said. “I would anticipate that Kevin Marsh and Jimmy Addison are probably next in the queue to be charged, and hopefully others.”

BY: Andrew Brown & Avery G. Wilks |

COLUMBIA — Federal prosecutors locked in a valuable witness on Thursday that will give them insights and advantages as they continue to bring charges against the leaders of a failed $9 billion nuclear expansion project in South Carolina.
Steve Byrne, the former vice president of Cayce-based SCANA Corp., pleaded guilty in federal court to defrauding electric customers and lying about construction progress as the company tried to build two new nuclear reactors at V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Fairfield County.
The guilty plea requires Byrne, 60, to cooperate with federal prosecutors, who have spent three years investigating the project’s sudden abandonment in July 2017. That project’s failure cost South Carolina electric ratepayers billions of dollars in higher power bills. SCANA’s shareholders also suffered huge losses when the company’s stock value tanked.

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