The US Department of Justice has announced a $2.7 million dollar settlement after a GE Hitachi employee filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the company.
The allegation was that GE Hitachi falsified data given to the federal government related to steam dryer components for their new reactor design.
“GE Hitachi allegedly made false statements to the NRC and Department of Energy about a component of the advanced nuclear Economic Simplified Boiling-Water Reactor (ESBWR) known as the steam dryer. A steam dryer removes liquid water droplets from steam produced by the nuclear reaction that generates electricity in boiling-water type reactors. The NRC requires that applicants for nuclear reactor design certification, such as GE Hitachi, demonstrate that vibrations caused by the steam dryer will not result in damage to a nuclear plant. The government alleged that GE Hitachi concealed known flaws in its steam dryer analysis and falsely represented that it had properly analyzed the steam dryer in accordance with applicable standards and had verified the accuracy of its modeling using reliable data.”
GE Hitachi received enough money from the US Department of Energy to cover half the costs of funding the design and licensing of their new reactor design, then turned around and lied to both the Department of Energy and the NRC.
If it wasn’t for the employee warning the government about his employers actions this issue may not have been uncovered. The settlement is still quite small in relation to the money involved in the project. GE designed the Fukushima nuclear plant reactors, later found to have considerable design flaws. GE Hitachi is a prime contractor for work at the Fukushima Daiichi disaster site.
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