Westinghouse agrees to pay $21.25M for Low Income Ratepayer Relief over failed nuclear reactor project

South Carolina News

FILE – In this Sept. 21, 2016, file photo, V.C. Summer Nuclear Station’s unit two’s turbine is under construction near Jenkinsville, S.C., during a media tour of the facility. Investors who lost fortunes in the failure of the multi billion-dollar nuclear reactor construction deal in South Carolina will soon begin to see their portions of a $192 million settlement, under a recently approved distribution. Last week, a federal judge signed off on a plan to disperse the funds among former shareholders in SCANA Corp., the former parent company of South Carolina Electric & Gas. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Westinghouse has agreed to pay $21.25 million in low-income ratepayer relief in wake of the failed South Carolina nuclear reactor project that involved both SCE&G and Santee Cooper.

U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina, M. Rhett Dehart, said his office reached an agreement with Westinghouse Electric Company during an ongoing investigation into criminal misconduct involving the failed construction of two new nuclear units at the V.C. Summer nuclear plant near Columbia.

According to Dehart’s office, Westinghouse agreed to cooperate ‘fully and completely’ with the V.C. Summer criminal investigation until the conclusion of all related criminal prosecutions involving former Westinghouse officials.

Federal charged are currently pending against the company’s former manager, Carl Churchman, and Senior Vice President for New Plants and Major Projects, Jeffrey A. Benjamin.

Benjamin will be arraigned in federal court on August 31, 2021.

The agreement, according to Dehart, specifies that Westinghouse will contribute an initial $5 million within 30 days to the South Carolina Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help certain ratepayers affected by the project’s failure. 

A final payment of $16.25 million would be paid by Westinghouse on or before July 1, 2022.

“Westinghouse has produced more than three million pages of documents, data, and correspondences to federal investigators; made employee witnesses available for interviews; and provided extensive debriefing sessions on the process and facts developed during the course of the company’s internal investigations related to the project,” Dehart’s office states.

Dehart’s office says Westinghouse house has produced more than three million pages of documents, data, and correspondences to federal investigators.

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They’ve also made employee witnesses available for interviews and provided extensive debriefing sessions on the process and facts developed during the course of the company’s internal investigations related to the project.

Dehart’s office says 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.

“Our office continues to seek justice for the victims of the V.C. Summer Project failure,” said Acting U.S. Attorney DeHart.  “Westinghouse’s cooperation is vital to our ongoing efforts to hold accountable the individuals most responsible for this debacle.  More than $21 million in new low-income ratepayer relief is a strong sign of our commitment to assist those most affected.”

The agreement is the latest development in the ongoing multi-year joint investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. 

Westinghouse was acquired by Brookfield Business Partners after the company abandoned the reactor project.

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