WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The US Justice Department says GE Hitachi has agreed to pay $2.7 million for allegedly giving false information to federal regulators. Despite the settlement a company spokesman says GE Hitachi “vigorously denies” the allegations.
The DOJ says Wilmington-based GE Hitachi allegedly made false statements to the US Department of Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) about a component of the advanced nuclear Economic Simplified Boiling-Water Reactor (ESBWR), which is also known as a steam dryer. The NRC requires that applicants for nuclear reactor design certification demonstrate that vibrations caused by the steam dryer will not result in damage to a nuclear plant. The government alleges that GE Hitachi concealed known flaws in its analysis and falsely represented that it had properly analyzed the steam dryer.
The DOJ says between 2007 and 2012, GE Hitachi received funding from the Department of Energy to cover up to half of the cost of developing, engineering and obtaining design certification for the advanced nuclear ESBWR. The NRC is still reviewing the application and has not reached a final decision on the certification.
GE Hitachi spokesman Christopher White tells WWAY that the company settled the suit despite there being no determination of liability for the best interest of its customers and to reach its “goal of getting final certification of the world’s safest nuclear reactor.”
The allegations came from a whistleblower lawsuit filed under the False Claims Act by LeRay Dandy, a former GE Hitachi employee. Dandy will receive a share of the settlement, though the amount has not yet been determined, the DOJ said.