Bechtel and AECOM Contruction pay $125 million to settle whistleblower case on allegations of deficient nuclear materials

Bechtel National Inc., Bechtel Corp., AECOM Energy and Construction Inc. has agreed to pay $125 million after False Claims Act violation allegations, after being charged the Department of Energy (DOE) for deficient nuclear quality materials, services and testing that was provided at the waste treatment plant  at DOE’s Hanford Site near Richland, Washington.

Between 2002 and the present, DOE has paid billions of dollars to the defendants. The funds were to be used to build the WTP, a plant that could treat dangerous radioactive wastes stored at the site at Hanford.

“The money allocated by Congress for the waste treatment plant is intended to fund the Department of Energy’s important mission to clean up the contaminated Hanford nuclear site, and this mission is undermined if funds are wasted on goods or services that are not nuclear compliant or to further lobbying activities,” said principal deputy assistant attorney general Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.

The lawsuit, United States ex rel. Brunson, Busche, and Tamosaitis v. Bechtel National, In., Bechtel Corp., URS Corp., and URS Entergy & Construction, Inc., Case Number 2:13-CV-05013-EFS, was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington (Benton County). In resolving these allegations, there has been no determination of liability.

Whistleblower Lawsuit Filed in 2013

Mr. Brunson, Ms. Busche, and Dr. Tamosaitis worked on the WTP project, and in 2013,  filed a lawsuit under  whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which permits private parties, known as “Relators,” to sue on behalf of the United States when they believe that a party has submitted false claims for government payment or property.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers but not in this case.