Exelon Generation officials will attend an enforcement conference this month after a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission investigation determined company executives intentionally falsified financial documents.
The investigation, which began Sept. 10, 2010, determined Exelon employees deliberately provided incomplete and inaccurate information in decommissioning funding status reports submitted to the NRC. Reporting years included in the review were 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011.
Decommissioning funds pay for the costs of safely deconstructing nuclear plants. For example, if a nuclear power plant closed, the funds would pay for the removal of radiological compounds as well as surveys to determine the site was safe for use by the public.
That safe deconstruction can cost hundreds of millions of dollars, according to Neil Sheehan, NRC spokesman.
According to the NRC investigation, "Exelon said they set aside higher amounts than actually existed for" the decommissioning of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Station and Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, said Sheehan. Specific cost comparisons were not readily available.
Exelon Generation is disputing the NRC's findings, according to a company spokesman.
"Decommissioning fund reports cover costs associated with returning a nuclear site to pre-facility conditions, and the calculations are complex and highly technical," said spokesman David Tillman.
Exelon officials look forward to meeting with the NRC to discuss the matter and are unaware of any evidence supporting the conclusion that Exelon employees performed or condoned deliberate misconduct or intentionally violated regulatory requirements, he said.
The company acted in good faith when providing decommissioning funding data to the NRC, based on the agency's regulations, Tillman said.
"Exelon Generation cooperated fully during the investigation and remains fully capable of meeting its decommissioning funding responsibilities," he said.
A date has not been set for this month's enforcement conference, Sheehan said.
This type of conference is not common in the industry, he said.
"I'm not aware of previous enforcement action of this kind by the NRC," Sheehan said.
He said it's too early to say what the consequences may be, but options could include civil penalties and orders that might ban an individual from the industry for a certain period of time.
"We still have a lot to discuss with Exelon," Sheehan said.