Stone & Webster Construction Inc. has agreed to pay $6.2 million to settle a multiyear federal probe into alleged improper recordkeeping of injuries and site safety under a $10-billion long-term contract with the Tennessee Valley Authority for modifications and maintenance work at nuclear plant sites in Tennessee and Alabama. The U.S. Justice Dept. announced the pact on Jan. 22 with Stone & Webster, a unit since 2000 of Baton Rouge-based The Shaw Group.

Stone & Webster understated injuries at TVA nuclear plants.
Photo: TVA
Stone & Webster understated injuries at TVA nuclear plants.

The settlement also requires Stoughton, Mass.-based Stone & Webster to enter into a first-of-its-kind comprehensive two-year monitoring agreement with TVA’s Office of the Inspector General to ensure the firm implements a compliance and ethics program applicable to its work for the federal utility. The “corporate integrity and monitoring agreement” is the first such pact in TVA history between its IG and a utility contractor, according to the government.

The settlement resolves all allegations in the probe against Stone & Webster, but the IG and the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee are still investigating the matter.

The Justice Dept. says that from 2003 to 2006, Stone & Webster misclassified and understated the number and severity of employee injuries to support its safety-related contracting performance goals. The contractor has broad-ranging contracts with TVA to perform work, including engineering and design services, for its nuclear plants. Details of the allegations against Stone & Webster related to its on-the-job injury records at TVA sites were not disclosed, but the firm was cited in 2007 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for mishandling those records.

“Once we realized the records were in error, we cooperated fully with the review and took corrective actions. We have admitted no wrongdoing or liability as part of the settlement,” says a Stone & Webster spokeswoman. “At no time did TVA allege us to be in default of our contract as a result of this matter.”