Energy Dept. IG Finds Conflicts of Interest in Nuke Clean-Up

MIA STEINLE l Project on Government Oversight  9 November, 2012

Government investigators have uncovered conflicts of interest among the contractors working on a multi-billion dollar effort to decontaminate and decommission two of the nation’s nuclear weapons sites.

Contractors at plants in Piketon, Ohio, and in Oak Ridge, Tenn., were overseeing work by subcontracting companies in which they hold a financial interest, according to a report from the Department of Energy (DOE) Inspector General.

According to federal and DOE regulations, this arrangement means the contractors are “unable to render impartial assistance or advice to the government,” and their “objectivity in performing the contract work is or might be otherwise impaired,” the report said.

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Customers protest fund switch by Constellation suitor Exelon

Sinking to a new low in squeezing the last penny out of consumers to salvage every possible profit for the industry, Exelon has stripped Zion's assets, moving them to an "unregulated nuclear-waste company in Utah." This includes an $8million Trust Fund paid for by consumers who have raised a court case saying they want their money back.

"EnergySolutions, is tapping the fund to dismantle the plant and award itself profits of between 15 percent and 20 percent, according to what it has told investors. Profits could eventually reach $200 million or more, the company has said."

While the legality may be determinied in court, ratepayers are furious:

"It belongs to us. We paid the money in the first place," said Nancy J. Thorner, a blogger and ComEd customer who is a plaintiff in the suit, said in an interview. "They're claiming 15 or 20 percent profit out of it. They're not supposed to get profit out of the decommissioning money we paid."

No one wants to claim responsibility, not the Illinois Commerce Commission, not the NRC, not BNY Mellon, the trustee for the decommissioning fund. The only people who will protect the interests of the ratepayers, whether financial or safety related, will have to be the ratepayers themselves who must stand up to the nuclear industry and say we no longer accept this.

The Baltimore Sun l Jay Hancock  6 August, 2011

The dismantling of Exelon Corp.'s Zion Station nuclear power plant near Chicago is setting several remarkable precedents.

It's the biggest-ever nuclear decommissioning job in the United States, says Exelon, which is seeking permission to buy Constellation Energy and Baltimore Gas & Electric. The enterprise will take a decade, employing hundreds. Instead of separating the radioactive debris from the nonradioactive, the usual method, workers will ship most of the rubble to Utah and dump it in the desert. (Spent fuel will be encased in concrete and stay in Illinois.)

The project also looks like a radical new way for unregulated energy companies to siphon quasi-public money into private pockets.

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Nuclear Power is not the Answer