Federal contractors at the Savannah River Site accepted tickets to University of Alabama football games, the Masters golf tournament and NASCAR races, along with YETI coolers, hunting rifles and cellphones, in exchange for handing out work at the nuclear storage facility, a new federal lawsuit alleges. The cost of those kickbacks was then charged to taxpayers, according a complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Justice. The contractors — Areva and Chicago Bridge & Iron — were hired to build a plant that would turn weapons-grade plutonium into fuel for nuclear power plants, but instead they stand accused of overlooking a scheme that bilked taxpayers out of $6.4 million. The suit raises further concerns over a federal construction effort that was marred by schedule delays, cost overruns and questionable spending. This isn’t the first time Areva and Chicago Bridge & Iron were named in a federal lawsuit over fraudulent purchases for the defunct project, known as the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility, or MOX. But it marks the most serious allegations yet about the unfinished nuclear facility, which was cancelled by the U.S. Department of Energy last year after more than $7.6 billion was spent.
Post & Courier 18th Feb 2019 read more »
The United States nuclear industry is in a tough spot. It’s unpopular with the public due to high-profile disasters like 1979’s Three Mile Island meltdown, and its bottom line has been hit hard by the rise of ultra-cheap domestic shale oil and gas as well as a nearly plateaued post-recession demand for electricity. Some states, including New York, New Jersey, and Illinois have approved financial packages to revive their failing nuclear industries, and now Pennsylvania could be the next if they can push past a plague of doubt. Pennsylvania is a hard sell for nuclear support as the home of the United States’ most famous nuclear disaster at the Three Mile Island site in Dauphin County 40 years ago. The nuclear industry has continued to function, however, in Pennsylvania in the intervening decades–in fact, it’s the second biggest nuclear power state in the country–it hasn’t been until the recent surge of cheap domestic fossil fuels thanks to the boom of production in the Permian Basin that the sector has hit a rough patch that they are unable to surmount on their own.
Oil Price 19th Feb 2019 read more »