Nuclear power industry supplier Energy & Process Corp. has agreed to pay $4.6 million to resolve a government lawsuit alleging the company knowingly failed to perform required quality assurance work and supplied defective steel reinforcing bars for a Department of Energy nuclear project, the U.S. Justice Department announced Monday. The lawsuit was filed under the False Claims Act.
The allegations relate to a contract for a DOE nuclear waste treatment facility at the agency's Savannah River site near Aiken, S.C.
The lawsuit alleged that the DOE paid Energy & Process Corp. to provide rebar that met stringent standards for the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication and Reactor Irradiation Services facility; however, not only did the company fail to perform most of the necessary quality assurance measures, it certified that the requirements had been met. Moreover, the lawsuit alleged that one-third of the rebar supplied by Energy & Process Corp. was defective.
The company replaced some of the defective material, the Justice Department said.
"This settlement recovers substantial losses caused by E&P's decision to cavalierly place its own profits above its commitment to adhere to important nuclear safety and quality control requirements," said John Horn, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, in a news release.
The allegations were spurred in part by a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Deborah Cook, a former employee of the prime contractor that subcontracted with E&P for work related to the DOE facility.