What is the nuclear power industry?

Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. The U.S. is the world’s largest producer of nuclear power, accounting for more than 30 percent of worldwide nuclear generation of electricity, according to the World Nuclear Association. The U.S. has 104 nuclear power reactors in 31 states, operated by 30 different power companies. There are 69 pressurized water reactors (PWRs). Almost all the U.S. nuclear generating capacity comes from reactors built between 1967 and 1990.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is the government agency established in 1974 to be responsible for regulation of the nuclear industry. In particular, it oversees reactors, fuel cycle facilities, materials and wastes, as well as other civil uses of nuclear materials. Performance against 19 key indicators is reported by nuclear power generating facilities to the NRC each quarter, and made available to the public through the NRC website. The plant is rated as to whether it is operating normally, requires regulatory oversight, provoking regulatory action, or unacceptable, in which case it would probably be shut down. The 19 criteria include 14 indicators on plant safety, two on radiation safety, and three on security.

What is Nuclear industry fraud?

When an individual or company acting as a defense contractor knowingly deceives the government in order to receive personal benefit, usually financial, this is fraud and a violation of the False Claims Act (FCA). In 1863, Congress enacted the False Claims Act (also called the “Lincoln Law”) to hold individuals and companies responsible when they defraud governmental programs.

Types of abuse that occurs in nuclear power industry include:

• Failing to conduct required safety inspections but reporting them as complete
• Failure to implement and enforce proper worker safety standards
• Unmanaged disposal of nuclear waste
• Supply fraud

There is a part of the False Claims Act that is known as the “whistleblower protection” provision. This provision ensures that if you are fired, demoted, suspended, threatened or discriminated against in any other way by an employer as a result of your filing a report of fraud, that you will be reinstated to your former position. This includes receiving any seniority that may have been affected, as well as back pay, interest and other compensation that may be due as a result of damages or losses you suffered as a result of filing a claim.

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