Failed S.C. nuclear contractor signs $21M deal, working with feds

SCANA and SCE&G announced Saturday that they have reached an agreement with plaintiffs in a...
SCANA and SCE&G announced Saturday that they have reached an agreement with plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against the utility following the aborted V.C. Summer nuclear project in 2017. (Source: WIS)
Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 1:10 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. - The chief contractor at a failed multibillion-dollar project to build two nuclear reactors in South Carolina has agreed to pay more than $20 million as part of a cooperation agreement with federal authorities probing the fiasco.

Acting U.S. Attorney Rhett DeHart said Monday that Westinghouse Electric Co. will contribute $21.25 million to a program intended to assist low-income ratepayers affected by the project’s failure.

The company will also be required to cooperate with federal investigators still probing the company’s role in the 2017 debacle at the V.C. Summer plant, which cost ratepayers and investors billions and left nearly 6,000 people jobless.

Three top-level executives have pleaded guilty as part of a multi-year federal fraud investigation.

Federal charges are pending against former Westinghouse manager Carl Churchman and former Westinghouse Senior Vice President for New Plants and Major Projects Jeffrey A. Benjamin.  Benjamin will be arraigned in federal court on Tuesday.

Following abandonment of the proposed new nuclear units, Westinghouse was acquired by Brookfield Business Partners.

The company has since removed, reassigned, or re-trained Westinghouse senior management; elected new members to the board of directors; restructured and retrained the company’s finance organization; established a global financial controls function; implemented new controls over financial reporting; revised and adopted a global ethics code; elected independent directors for its audit committee; established a corporate controller position; and implemented a new whistleblower program to provide employees with the ability to raise concerns without fear of retaliation.

In addition, Westinghouse – through its former parent company Toshiba – has satisfied $2.168 billion in settlement payments related to the V.C. Summer project, including $1.032 billion to SCANA, $976 million to Santee Cooper, and $160 million to pay various contractor liens.

The Associated Press contributed to this report