2nd man charged for fake records at TVA's Watts Bar Nuclear Plant

2nd man charged for fake records at TVA's Watts Bar Nuclear Plant

September 28th, 2011 by Associated Press in News

This file photo of April 2007, released by the Tennessee Valley Authority, shows the cooling tower of the single operating reactor at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in Spring City, Tenn.

This file photo of April 2007, released by...

Watts Bar Nuclear Plant location

Watts Bar Nuclear Plant location

BILL POOVEY, Associated Press

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - A second contractor employee at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Watts Bar Nuclear Plant has been charged with falsifying electrical cable inspection records and TVA said in a statement Tuesday that the discovery shows its safeguards are working as designed.

Court records show John E. Delk, a crew supervisor for Williams Specialty Services of Tucker, Ga., was charged with the felony offense of knowingly and willfully certifying work that he knew had not been completed at the nation's only current nuclear reactor construction project.

Delk's attorney, Myrlene Marsa, declined comment Tuesday. The case prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Brooks, did not immediately return telephone messages seeking comment.

Another former employee of the same subcontractor, electrician Matthew Correll, in an agreement with prosecutors pleaded guilty in June to falsifying records at the Watts Bar Unit 2 reactor project. His sentencing is set Oct. 6 in Chattanooga.

A spokesman for Williams Specialty Services did not have any immediate comment.

"TVA is grateful to those who identified these concerns and those who investigated them," TVA said in its statement Tuesday. "This action is an example of TVA's systems and procedural safeguards working as designed." The statement by the nation's largest public utility said it "has been reviewing work performed by the individuals alleged to be involved to assure similar issues do not exist."

Correll's plea agreement showed that he made about 200 falsified entries about cables that were installed to provide energy, in some cases to safety equipment, inside the containment structure for the unfinished reactor at the nuclear plant between Chattanooga and Knoxville.

U.S. Attorney Bill Killian and TVA officials said at a March news conference after Correll's arrest amid publicity about the nuclear disaster in Japan that the records were falsified in August 2010 and posed no harm to the public.

Williams Specialty Services, a subcontractor on TVA's $2.5 billion, 1,200-megawatt reactor project, issued a statement after Correll's arrest that said his employment ended in September 2010 and that the company has cooperated with the investigation.

TVA supplies power to customers in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.

Connect with the Times Free Press on Facebook