Feds Slap Huge Fine On Company For Faking Inspections On Nuclear Plant

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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter
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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has proposed hitting the only company currently building nuclear reactors in the U.S. with a $145,000 fine.

The NRC investigated Southern Nuclear Co., the company building the Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia, and found that at least 13 system operators signed off on required inspections they did not complete, the NRC announced Wednesday.

The inspections are required to identify and correct “degraded, abnormal or undesirable plant conditions,” an NRC letter to Southern stated.

While no actual harm came from failing to inspect the plant, the company’s ability to ensure the project’s safety “was intentionally precluded by the deliberate misconduct,” the letter said.

Southern has 30 days to either pay the fine or protest the ruling.

Georgia regulators approved continued investment late last year into the project that has been plagued by delays and cost overruns. Vogtle’s new reactors are expected to be fully operational by 2022, five years past the original completion date and $9 billion over the original budget.

The immense cost for constructing the nuclear reactors drove Westinghouse Electric, a subsidiary of Toshiba, into bankruptcy. Toshiba transferred management of Vogtle to Southern last year.

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