A subsidiary of General Electric has agreed to pay $2.7 million to settle allegations that it made false statements to the federal government about a component of an advanced nuclear reactor under review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
In a Jan. 23 announcement, the Justice Dept. alleged that Wilmington, N.C.-based GE Hitachi concealed known flaws with the steam dryer component of its Economic Simplified Boiling-Water Reactor (ESBWR) n its steam-dryer analysis. The steam dryer removes water droplets from steam produced by the nuclear reactions that generate electricity in boiling-water type reactors.
The government also alleged that GE Hitachi had falsely represented that it had properly analyzed the steam dryer in accordance with all applicable standards and verified the accuracy of its modeling and data.
The allegations originated from a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Le Ray Dandy, a former employee of GE Hitachi.
Despite the allegations, the NRC is still reviewing the application for the ESBWR and has not reached a final decision on the certification, said Glenn Tracy, director of NRC’s office of new reactors, in a statement.
Christopher White, a spokesman for GE Hitachi, says that although it denies any wrongdoing, it was “in our best interest and our customer’s best interest to settle the suit at this time so that the NRC can focus solely on licensing …the reactor.” He says the allegations are “without merit.”