Civil settlement, DU, DU hex, DU hexafluoride, False Claims Act, false claims for payment, fraud, handling and disposal of radioactive waste, Lockheed Martin, Martin Marietta, NRDC, nuclear energy, nuclear power, nuclear waste, nuclear waste disposal, nuclear weapons, Paducah, Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, Paducah Kentucky, radioactive black ooze, radioactive waste, RCRA, Scalia death, Technetium, UF6 cylinder, uranium enrichment, US DOJ, USEC, whistleblower
The US government’s lawsuit alleged that Lockheed Martin failed to identify and report hazardous waste produced and stored at the facility, and failed to properly handle and dispose of the waste. The US “government further alleged that this conduct resulted in false claims for payment under Lockheed Martin’s contracts with the Department of Energy…“ (USDOJ, Feb. 29, 2016 – See entire Press Release at Bottom of this Blog Post.)
This is a Civil Suit settlement and excludes criminal and other charges:
“Notwithstanding Paragraphs 5 and 6 above, or any other term of this Agreement, the following claims of the United States are specifically reserved and are not released:
a. Any liability arising under Title 26, U.S. Code (Internal Revenue Code);
9 b. Any criminal liability;
c. Except as explicitly stated in this Agreement, any administrative liability, including the suspension and debarment rights of any federal agency;
d. Any liability to the United States (or its agencies) for any conduct other than the Covered Conduct;
e. Any liability based on obligations created by this Agreement;
f. Any liability of individuals; or
g. Any liability for personal injury or property damage or for other consequential damages arising from the Covered Conduct.” https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdky/file/828866/download
“In 1988 TCE and trace amounts of technetium-99 was found in the drinking water wells of residences located near the plant site in McCracken County, Kentucky. To protect human health the Department of Energy provided city water at no cost to the affected residents, and continues to do so./ In 1999, Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson ordered a 24-hour stand down to assess the level of contamination. This followed reports of “radioactive black ooze seeping from the ground a quarter mile” away, three buried drums found behind a residents yard, and thick uranium dust at the plant. On April 30, 2013 a contamination event occurred following a pressure spike during unloading of UF6 cylinder causes in the C-337A Feed Facility at the Paducah enrichment plant.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paducah_Gaseous_Diffusion_Plant This is apparently a settlement of cases dating from ca 1999. See: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/the-price-of-nuclear-weapons-and-nuclear-power-the-case-of-paducah-kentucky/ Technetium-99 has a half-life of 211,000 years and is almost 8 times more dangerous to babies than Cesium 137, based on ICRP dose coefficients.
“Lockheed Martin operated the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant under contracts with the Department of Energy and a government corporation, the U.S. Enrichment Corporation [USEC], from 1984 to 1999. During that time Lockheed Martin was responsible for the facility’s uranium enrichment operations. Enriching uranium increases the proportion of uranium atoms that can be used to produce nuclear fuel for weapons and civilian energy production… In addition to uranium enrichment, Lockheed Martin was responsible for environmental restoration, waste management, and custodial care at the site, which occupies 3,500 acres in McCracken County, Kentucky. Uranium enrichment operations ceased at the plant in 2013. The government is working with other contractors to remediate contamination at and near the site consistent with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).” (US DOJ Feb. 29, 2016) The contractor for the decades prior to Lockheed-Martin was Union Carbide.
The US “government’s lawsuit alleged that Lockheed Martin violated RCRA, the statute that establishes how hazardous wastes must be managed, by failing to identify and report hazardous waste produced and stored at the facility, and failing to properly handle and dispose of the waste. The government further alleged that this conduct resulted in false claims for payment under Lockheed Martin’s contracts with the Department of Energy…“ (US DOJ, Feb. 29, 2016) They settled out of court and thus these always remain so-called “allegations”. Is this another settlement, which came due to the death of anti-environment Supreme Court Judge Scalia?
Depleted Uranium (DU) hexafluoride “cylinders” are huge.
DU hex “cylinders” at the Paducah site (belwo). Note size of man, above, and pickup truck, below, in comparison. There are around 46,000 to 63,000 of these at this site only. US DOE appears uncertain of the number, or hasn’t updated all pages.
On the top diagram they say 46,000 and elsewhere: There are more than 63,000 cylinders filled with DUF6 stored in cylinder yards at the Paducah and Portsmouth Sites.” http://energy.gov/pppo/duf6-conversion
“Most depleted uranium arises as a by-product of the production of enriched uranium for use as fuel in nuclear reactors and in the manufacture of nuclear weapons. Enrichment processes generate uranium with a higher-than-natural concentration of lower-mass-number uranium isotopes (in particular U-235, which is the uranium isotope supporting the fissionchain reaction) with the bulk of the feed ending up as depleted uranium, in some cases with mass fractions of U-235 and U-234 less than a third of those in natural uranium. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depleted_uranium “About 95% of the depleted uranium produced to date is stored as uranium hexafluoride, DUF6, in steel cylinders in open air yards close to enrichment plants. Each cylinder contains up to 12.7 tonnes (or 14 US tons) of solid UF6.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranium_hexafluoride
From the USDOJ:
“Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, February 29, 2016
Lockheed Martin Agrees to Pay $5 Million to Settle Alleged Violations of the False Claims Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
Lockheed Martin Corporation and subsidiaries Lockheed Martin Energy Systems and Lockheed Martin Utility Services (collectively, Lockheed Martin) have agreed to pay the United States $5 million to resolve allegations that they violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and, in misrepresenting their compliance with RCRA to the Department of Energy (DOE), knowingly submitted false claims for payment under their contracts with DOE to operate the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Paducah, Kentucky, the Justice Department announced today.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security, aerospace, and information technology company that provides energy, environmental, and other services to government and commercial customers.
“We depend on the private sector to provide services critical to the government’s energy needs and to provide those services by means that are environmentally sound,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “As the settlement announced today demonstrates, the department will vigorously pursue all appropriate remedies to ensure that those who provide these vital services do so honestly and safely and in accordance with the law.”
“This settlement reflects our commitment to pursuing companies that violate the hazardous waste laws, and to securing a fair recovery of civil penalties for the people of the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General John Cruden, head of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The $1 million in RCRA civil penalties that the defendants are paying under this settlement is significant and is appropriate for the violations the United States has alleged.”
The government’s lawsuit alleged that Lockheed Martin violated RCRA, the statute that establishes how hazardous wastes must be managed, by failing to identify and report hazardous waste produced and stored at the facility, and failing to properly handle and dispose of the waste. The government further alleged that this conduct resulted in false claims for payment under Lockheed Martin’s contracts with the Department of Energy.
Of the $5 million settlement amount, Lockheed Martin will pay $4 million to resolve the government’s False Claims Act allegations and its subsidiaries (Lockheed Martin Energy Systems and Lockheed Martin Utility Services) will each pay $500,000 – $1 million total – in RCRA civil penalties.
“Government contractors are required to follow the same federal laws that apply to everyone else,” said U.S. Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr. for the Western District of Kentucky. “These companies do not get a pass on compliance, especially when their responsibilities include managing and disposing of hazardous waste. Today’s settlement should serve as a reminder that my office and the Department of Justice will pursue all credible allegations of false claims and of environmental regulatory violations.”
“Managing hazardous waste is important, and this case makes clear EPA’s commitment to upholding laws that protect communities where waste is disposed,” said EPA Regional Administrator Heather McTeer Toney of EPA Region 4, the Southeast region.
Lockheed Martin operated the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant under contracts with the Department of Energy and a government corporation, the U.S. Enrichment Corporation, from 1984 to 1999. During that time, Lockheed Martin was responsible for the facility’s uranium enrichment operations. Enriching uranium increases the proportion of uranium atoms that can be used to produce nuclear fuel for weapons and civilian energy production. As the name of the plant suggests, the process used was called “gaseous diffusion.”
In addition to uranium enrichment, Lockheed Martin was responsible for environmental restoration, waste management, and custodial care at the site, which occupies 3,500 acres in McCracken County, Kentucky. Uranium enrichment operations ceased at the plant in 2013. The government is working with other contractors to remediate contamination at and near the site consistent with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).
The settlement resolves two lawsuits filed under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provision of the False Claims Act, which permits private parties to file suit on behalf of the United States for false claims and obtain a portion of the government’s recovery. The lawsuits were filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. and several former employees of Lockheed Martin who worked at the Paducah facility. The United States partially intervened in the lawsuits, which were then consolidated into one action. The whistleblowers will collectively receive $920,000 from the United States’ portion of the settlement.
The case was a coordinated effort of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky, the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, the Environment and Natural Resources Division’s Environmental Enforcement Section, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Energy Office of Inspector General.
The case is captioned United States, ex rel. John David Tillson, Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., et al. v. Lockheed Martin Corp., et al., Civil Action No. 5:99CV00170-GNS (W.D. Ky.). The claims resolved by this settlement are allegations only; there has been no determination of liability.
Environment and Natural Resources Division
Updated February 29, 2016” https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/lockheed-martin-agrees-pay-5-million-settle-alleged-violations-false-claims-act-and-resource https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdky/file/828866/download
How many bets that the outbreak of “mad cow” (CJD) wasn’t from eating squirrel brains in this neck of the woods, but rather from the Paducah site? “Mad cow” (CJD-BSE) broke out in the UK shortly after Chernobyl, and in the areas badly impacted. Radioactive materials can damage the brain.