GE Hitachi agrees to pay $2.7 million on false claim allegations - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

GE Hitachi agrees to pay $2.7 million fine on false claim allegations

The Justice Department announced the settlement Thursday. The Justice Department announced the settlement Thursday.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WECT) - General Electric Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas LLC out of Wilmington has agreed to pay $2.7 million to settle allegations about false claims made to the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, according to a release from the US Justice Department.

The initial investigation started after a whistleblower lawsuit from LeRay Dandy, a former employee of GE Hitachi in Wilmington.

The company was accused of making false statements to the NRC and Department of Energy about a nuclear design for a component known as the steam dryer, according to the release.  That particular piece of equipment removes liquid water drops from steam produced by a nuclear reaction that creates electricity in boiling-water type reactors. According to the release, the NRC requires groups to demonstrate that vibrations caused by the dryer will not damage the nuclear plant. The government states that GE Hitachi concealed flaws in their analysis and falsely claimed that it had properly analyzed this information.

For a period of years between 2007 and 2012, GE Hitachi received federal funding for some of the costs to work on this project. The release states that the NRC is still reviewing the application for the reactor design. 

GE Hitachi released the following statement about the settlement:

"On January 17, 2014, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice related to submittals made to the US Government (USG) regarding its plant-based load evaluation (PBLE) methodology for analyzing anticipated loads on the ESBWR steam dryer. 

GEH expressly denied the allegations throughout the process, and as the DOJ statement indicates, "the claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability."

Even though GEH denies the allegations, we believe that resolution of this matter supports our continuing efforts to maintain and enhance a positive working relationship with the U.S. Government, and more specifically the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

The steam dryer, a non-safety related piece of equipment, removes excess moisture from steam created in a nuclear power plant's reactor before it is delivered to the turbine generator to produce low carbon, baseload electricity.

GEH steam dryers have worked effectively the world over for more than 50 years.  As recent as the fall of 2012, the PBLE methodology was successfully utilized as part of the extended power uprate of one of the largest boiling water reactors in the world."

According to the release, the amount of money awarded to Dandy has not been determined at this point.

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